Mitochondrial fission mediated by cytosolic dynamin related protein 1 (Drp1) is essential for mitochondrial quality control but may contribute to apoptosis as well. Blockade of Drp1 with mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (mdivi-1) provides neuroprotection in several models of neurodegeneration and cerebral ischemia and has emerged as a promising therapeutic drug. In oligodendrocytes, overactivation of AMPA-type ionotropic glutamate receptors (AMPARs) induces intracellular Ca overload and excitotoxic death that contributes to demyelinating diseases. Mitochondria are key to Ca homeostasis, however it is unclear how it is disrupted during oligodendroglial excitotoxicity. In the current study, we have analyzed mitochondrial dynamics during AMPAR activation and the effects of mdivi-1 on excitotoxicity in optic nerve-derived oligodendrocytes. Sublethal AMPAR activation triggered Drp1-dependent mitochondrial fission, whereas toxic AMPAR activation produced Drp1-independent mitochondrial swelling. Accordingly, mdivi-1 efficiently inhibited Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission and did not prevent oligodendrocyte excitotoxicity. Unexpectedly, mdivi-1 also induced mitochondrial depolarization, ER Ca depletion and modulation of AMPA-induced Ca signaling. These off-target effects of mdivi-1 sensitized oligodendrocytes to excitotoxicity and ER stress and eventually produced oxidative stress and apoptosis. Interestingly, in cultured astrocytes mdivi-1 induced nondetrimental mitochondrial depolarization and oxidative stress that did not cause toxicity or sensitization to apoptotic stimuli. In summary, our results provide evidence of Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission during activation of ionotropic glutamate receptors in oligodendrocytes, and uncover a deleterious and Drp1-independent effect of mdivi-1 on mitochondrial and ER function in these cells. These off-target effects of mdivi-1 limit its therapeutic potential and should be taken into account in clinical studies.© 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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