CART peptide is a potential endogenous antioxidant and preferentially localized in mitochondria

Peizhong Mao, Charles K. Meshul, Philippe Thuillier, Natalie R.S. Goldberg, P. Hemachandra Reddy

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45 Scopus citations


The multifunctional neuropeptide Cocaine and Amphetamine Regulated Transcript (CART) is secreted from hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal gland and pancreas. It also can be found in circulatory system. This feature suggests a general role for CART in different cells. In the present study, we demonstrate that CART protects mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), cellular proteins and lipids against the oxidative action of hydrogen peroxide, a widely used oxidant. Using cis-parinaric acid as a sensitive reporting probe for peroxidation in membranes, and a lipid-soluble azo initiator of peroxyl radicals, 2,2′-Azobis(2,4-dimethylvaleronitrile) we found that CART is an antioxidant. Furthermore, we found that CART localized to mitochondria in cultured cells and mouse brain neuronal cells. More importantly, pretreatment with CART by systemic injection protects against a mouse oxidative stress model, which mimics the main features of Parkinson's disease. Given the unique molecular structure and biological features of CART, we conclude that CART is an antioxidant peptide (or antioxidant hormone). We further propose that it may have strong therapeutic properties for human diseases in which oxidative stress is strongly involved such as Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere29343
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 3 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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