L-PGDS [lipocalin-type PGD (prostaglandin D) synthase] is a dual-functional protein, acting as a PGD2-producing enzyme and a lipid transporter. L-PGDS is a member of the lipocalin superfamily and can bind a wide variety of lipophilic molecules. In the present study we demonstrate the protective effect of L-PGDS on H2O2-induced apoptosis in neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. L-PGDS expression was increased in H2O2-treated neuronal cells, and the L-PGDS level was highly associated with H2O2-induced apoptosis, indicating that L-PGDS protected the neuronal cells against H2O2-mediated cell death. A cell viability assay revealed that L-PGDS protected against H2O2-induced cell death in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, the titration of free thiols in H2O2-treated L-PGDS revealed that H2O2 reacted with the thiol of Cys65 of L-PGDS. The MALDI–TOF (matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization–time-of-flight)-MS spectrum of H2O2-treated L-PGDS showed a 32 Da increase in the mass relative to that of the untreated protein, showing that the thiol was oxidized to sulfinic acid. The binding affinities of oxidized L-PGDS for lipophilic molecules were comparable with those of untreated L-PGDS. Taken together, these results demonstrate that L-PGDS protected against neuronal cell death by scavenging reactive oxygen species without losing its ligand-binding function. The novel function of L-PGDS could be useful for the suppression of oxidative stress-mediated neurodegenerative diseases.

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