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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Jan 30;1542(1-3):82-94.

Fructose inhibits apoptosis induced by reoxygenation in rat hepatocytes by decreasing reactive oxygen species via stabilization of the glutathione pool.

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Institut für Biochemie, Medizinische Fakultät Leipzig, Germany.


Oxidative stress induces apoptosis in liver parenchymal cells. The present study demonstrates that the substitution of fructose for glucose as sole carbon source in the incubation medium reduced apoptosis due to reoxygenation up to 50% in cultured rat hepatocytes. This anti-apoptotic action of fructose cannot be explained by the effects of this sugar on the intracellular ATP concentration and the ATP/ADP ratio. Rather, the suppression of apoptosis by fructose seems to be a consequence of remarkably higher intracellular levels of glutathione observed during reoxygenation in fructose-fed hepatocytes in contrast to glucose-fed ones. With fructose as substrate, the generation of excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) during the initial phase of reoxygenation was strongly reduced. With respect to ROS reduction and stabilization of the cellular glutathione pool fructose was found as efficient as a pretreatment of glucose fed cells with N-acetyl-L-cysteine. The enhanced metabolization of ROS by the glutathione/glutathione peroxidase system in fructose-cultured hepatocytes under reoxygenation was expected to improve their mitochondrial status so that late events in the apoptotic pathway are suppressed. This could be confirmed by the reduced release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytosol as well as by the observed decrease of caspase-3 activity during reoxygenation.

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