The accumulation of α-synuclein (αSyn) has been implicated as a causal factor in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). There is growing evidence that supports mitochondrial dysfunction as a potential primary cause of dopaminergic neuronal death in PD. Here, we focused on reciprocal interactions between αSyn aggregation and mitochondrial injury induced by oxidative stress. We further investigated whether epidermal fatty acid-binding protein 5 (FABP5) is related to αSyn oligomerization/aggregation and subsequent disturbances in mitochondrial function in neuronal cells. In the presence of rotenone, a mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I inhibitor, co-overexpression of FABP5 with αSyn significantly decreased the viability of Neuro-2A cells compared to that of αSyn alone. Under these conditions, FABP5 co-localized with αSyn in the mitochondria, thereby reducing mitochondrial membrane potential. Furthermore, we confirmed that pharmacological inhibition of FABP5 by its ligand prevented αSyn accumulation in mitochondria, which led to cell death rescue. These results suggested that FABP5 is crucial for mitochondrial dysfunction related to αSyn oligomerization/aggregation in the mitochondria induced by oxidative stress in neurons.
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