Cisplatin induces mitochondrial deficits in Drosophila larval segmental nerve

Jewel L. Podratz, Han Lee, Patrizia Knorr, Stephanie Koehler, Steven Forsythe, Kelsey Lambrecht, Suzette Arias, Kiley Schmidt, Gabrielle Steinhoff, Georgiy Yudintsev, Amy Yang, Eugenia Trushina, Anthony Windebank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cisplatin is an effective chemotherapy drug that induces peripheral neuropathy in cancer patients. In rodent dorsal root ganglion neurons, cisplatin binds nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) inducing DNA damage and apoptosis. Platinum-mtDNA adducts inhibit mtDNA replication and transcription leading to mitochondrial degradation. Cisplatin also induces climbing deficiencies associated with neuronal apoptosis in adult Drosophila melanogaster. Here we used Drosophila larvae that express green fluorescent protein in the mitochondria of motor neurons to observe the effects of cisplatin on mitochondrial dynamics and function. Larvae treated with 10 μg/ml cisplatin had normal survival with deficiencies in righting and heat sensing behavior. Behavior was abrogated by, the pan caspase inhibitor, p35. However, active caspase 3 was not detected by immunostaining. There was a 27% decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential and a 42% increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mitochondria along the axon. Examination of mitochondrial axonal trafficking showed no changes in velocity, flux or mitochondrial length. However, cisplatin treatment resulted in a greater number of stationary organelles caused by extended pausing during axonal motility. These results demonstrate that cisplatin induces behavior deficiencies in Drosophila larvae, decreased mitochondrial activity, increased ROS production and mitochondrial pausing without killing the larvae. Thus, we identified particular aspects of mitochondrial dynamics and function that are affected in cisplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy and may represent key therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-69
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Apoptosis
  • Axonal trafficking
  • Cisplatin
  • Drosophila
  • Membrane potential
  • Mitochondria
  • Motor neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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