Neurotoxin-Induced DNA Damage is Persistent in SH-SY5Y Cells and LC Neurons

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Degeneration of the noradrenergic neurons has been reported in the brain of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. However, their pathological characteristics during the neurodegenerative course and underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we used the neurotoxin camptothecin (CPT) to induce the DNA damage response in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, normal fibroblast cells, and primarily cultured locus coeruleus (LC) and raphe neurons to examine cellular responses and repair capabilities after neurotoxin exposure. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to show that noradrenergic SH-SY5Y cells are more sensitive to CPT-induced DNA damage and deficient in DNA repair, as compared to fibroblast cells. Furthermore, similar to SH-SY5Y cells, primarily cultured LC neurons are more sensitive to CPT-induced DNA damage and show a deficiency in repairing this damage. Moreover, while N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP4) exposure also results in DNA damage in cultured LC neurons, neither CPT nor DSP4 induce DNA damage in neuronal cultures from the raphe nuclei. Taken together, noradrenergic SH-SY5Y cells and LC neurons are sensitive to CPT-induced DNA damage and exhibit a repair deficiency, providing a mechanistic explanation for the pathological characteristics of LC degeneration when facing endogenous and environmental DNA-damaging insults in vivo.