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Am J Physiol. 1999 May;276(5):C1121-31. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.1999.276.5.C1121.

Importance of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in cell death.

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Renal Division and Department of Medicine, Joslin Diabetes Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The intracellular redox potential plays an important role in cell survival. The principal intracellular reductant NADPH is mainly produced by the pentose phosphate pathway by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH), the rate-limiting enzyme, and by 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase. Considering the importance of NADPH, we hypothesized that G6PDH plays a critical role in cell death. Our results show that 1) G6PDH inhibitors potentiated H2O2-induced cell death; 2) overexpression of G6PDH increased resistance to H2O2-induced cell death; 3) serum deprivation, a stimulator of cell death, was associated with decreased G6PDH activity and resulted in elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS); 4) additions of substrates for G6PDH to serum-deprived cells almost completely abrogated the serum deprivation-induced rise in ROS; 5) consequences of G6PDH inhibition included a significant increase in apoptosis, loss of protein thiols, and degradation of G6PDH; and 6) G6PDH inhibition caused changes in mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation that were similar to the changes seen with H2O2. We conclude that G6PDH plays a critical role in cell death by affecting the redox potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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