Vitamin K2, a natural fat-soluble vitamin, is a potent neuroprotective molecule, owing to its antioxidant effect, but its mechanism has not been fully elucidated. Therefore, we stimulated SH-SY5Y cells with 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) in a proper dose-dependent manner, followed by a treatment of vitamin K2. In the presence of 6-OHDA, cell viability was reduced, the mitochondrial membrane potential was decreased, and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was increased. Moreover, the treatment of 6-OHDA promoted mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and abnormal mitochondrial fission and fusion. However, vitamin K2 significantly suppressed 6-OHDA-induced changes. Vitamin K2 played a significant part in apoptosis by upregulating and downregulating Bcl-2 and Bax protein expressions, respectively, which inhibited mitochondrial depolarization, and ROS accumulation to maintain mitochondrial structure and functional stabilities. Additionally, vitamin K2 significantly inhibited the 6-OHDA-induced downregulation of the MFN1/2 level and upregulation of the DRP1 level, respectively, and this enabled cells to maintain the dynamic balance of mitochondrial fusion and fission. Furthermore, vitamin K2 treatments downregulated the expression level of p62 and upregulated the expression level of LC3A in 6-OHDA-treated cells via the PINK1/Parkin signaling pathway, thereby promoting mitophagy. Moreover, it induced mitochondrial biogenesis in 6-OHDA damaged cells by promoting the expression of PGC-1α, NRF1, and TFAM. These indicated that vitamin K2 can release mitochondrial damage, and that this effect is related to the participation of vitamin K2 in the regulation of the mitochondrial quality-control loop, through the maintenance of the mitochondrial quality-control system, and repair mitochondrial dysfunction, thereby alleviating neuronal cell death mediated by mitochondrial damage.
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