Aripiprazole is the only atypical antipsychotic drug known to cause the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in PC12 cells. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this phosphorylation in aripiprazole-treated PC12 cells have not yet been clarified. Here, using PC12 cells, we show that these cells incubated for 24 h with aripiprazole at 50 μM and 25 mM glucose underwent a decrease in their NAD+/NADH ratio. Aripiprazole suppressed cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity but enhanced the activities of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), citrate synthase and Complex I. The changes in enzyme activities coincided well with those in NADH, NAD+, and NAD+/NADH ratio. However, the bioenergetic peril judged by the lowered COX activity might not be accompanied by excessive occurrence of apoptotic cell death in aripiprazole-treated cells, because the mitochondrial membrane potential was not decreased, but rather increased. On the other hand, when PC12 cells were incubated for 24 h with clozapine at 50 lM and 25 mM glucose, the NAD+/NADH ratio did not change. Also, the COX activity was decreased; and the PDH activity was enhanced. These results suggest that aripiprazole-treated PC12 cells responded to the bioenergetic peril more effectively than the clozapine-treated ones to return the ATP biosynthesis back toward its ordinary level. This finding might be related to the fact that aripiprazole alone causes phosphorylation of AMPK in PC12 cells.
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