Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 9;101(10):3381-6. Epub 2004 Feb 25.

Decline in transcriptional activity of Nrf2 causes age-related loss of glutathione synthesis, which is reversible with lipoic acid.

Author information

  • 1Linus Pauling Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

Abstract

Glutathione (GSH) significantly declines in the aging rat liver. Because GSH levels are partly a reflection of its synthetic capacity, we measured the levels and activity of gamma-glutamylcysteine ligase (GCL), the rate-controlling enzyme in GSH synthesis. With age, both the catalytic (GCLC) and modulatory (GCLM) subunits of GCL decreased by 47% and 52%, respectively (P < 0.005). Concomitant with lower subunit levels, GCL activity also declined by 53% (P < 0.05). Because nuclear factor erythroid2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) governs basal and inducible GCLC and GCLM expression by means of the antioxidant response element (ARE), we hypothesized that aging results in dysregulation of Nrf2-mediated GCL expression. We observed an approximately 50% age-related loss in total (P < 0.001) and nuclear (P < 0.0001) Nrf2 levels, which suggests attenuation in Nrf2-dependent gene transcription. By using gel-shift and supershift assays, a marked reduction in Nrf2/ARE binding in old vs. young rats was noted. To determine whether the constitutive loss of Nrf2 transcriptional activity also affects the inducible nature of Nrf2 nuclear translocation, old rats were treated with (R)-alpha-lipoic acid (LA; 40 mg/kg i.p. up to 48 h), a disulfide compound shown to induce Nrf2 activation in vitro and improve GSH levels in vivo. LA administration increased nuclear Nrf2 levels in old rats after 12 h. LA also induced Nrf2 binding to the ARE, and, consequently, higher GCLC levels and GCL activity were observed 24 h after LA injection. Thus, the age-related loss in GSH synthesis may be caused by dysregulation of ARE-mediated gene expression, but chemoprotective agents, like LA, can attenuate this loss.

PMID:
14985508
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC373470
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk