Protective effects of zonisamide against rotenone-induced neurotoxicity

Salvatore Condello, Monica Currò, Nadia Ferlazzo, Gregorio Costa, Giuseppa Visalli, Daniela Caccamo, Laura Rosa Pisani, Cinzia Costa, Paolo Calabresi, Riccardo Ientile, Francesco Pisani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zonisamide (ZNS), an antiepileptic drug having beneficial effects also against Parkinson's disease symptoms, has proven to display an antioxidant effects in different experimental models. In the present study, the effects of ZNS on rotenone-induced cell injury were investigated in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells differentiated towards a neuronal phenotype. Cell cultures were exposed for 24 h to 500 nM rotenone with or without pre-treatment with 10-100 μM ZNS. Then, the following parameters were analyzed: (a) cell viability; (b) intracellular reactive oxygen species production; (c) mitochondrial transmembrane potential; (d) cell necrosis and apoptosis; (e) caspase-3 activity. ZNS dose-dependently suppressed rotenone-induced cell damage through a decrease in intracellular ROS production, and restoring mitochondrial membrane potential. Similarly to ZNS effects, the treatment with N-acetyl-cysteine (100 μM) displayed significant protective effects against rotenone-induced ROS production and Δψm at 4 and 12 h respectively, reaching the maximal extent at 24 h. Additionally, ZNS displayed antiapoptotic effects, as demonstrated by flow cytometric analysis of annexin V/propidium iodide double staining, and significant attenuated rotenone-increased caspase 3 activity. On the whole, these findings suggest that ZNS preserves mitochondrial functions and counteracts apoptotic signalling mechanisms mainly by an antioxidant action. Thus, ZNS might have beneficial effect against neuronal cell degeneration in different experimental models involving mitochondrial dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2631-2639
Number of pages9
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Apoptosis
  • Mitochondrial impairment
  • Neuroprotection
  • Oxidative stress
  • Zonisamide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry


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