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Free Radic Res. 2002 Jun;36(6):705-9.

alpha-tocopherol increases the intracellular glutathione level in HaCaT keratinocytes.

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Kobe Research Laboratory, Noevir Co., Ltd, 13-1 Port Island, Naka-machi, 6-chome, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-8521, Japan.


alpha-Tocopherol is a lipophilic vitamin that exhibits an antioxidative activity. The purpose of this study was to clarify the roles of alpha-tocopherol in the regulation of intracellular glutathione (GSH) levels in HaCaT keratinocytes. When HaCaT keratinocytes were cultivated with alpha-tocopherol for 24 h, the intracellular GSH was increased at every concentration of alpha-tocopherol tested. Furthermore, the HaCaT keratinocytes cultured with alpha-tocopherol at 50 microM for 24 h exhibited resistance against H2O2. However, a short exposure of HaCaT keratinocytes to alpha-tocopherol for 1 h did not influence either the GSH level or the resistance to H2O2. These findings suggest that GSH, which is inductively synthesized by alpha-tocopherol, effectively reduces exogenous oxidative stress. To evaluate the effect of alpha-tocopherol on the GSH level, BSO, which is a typical inhibitor of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS), was used. When BSO was added to HaCaT keratinocytes, no action of alpha-tocopherol on the GSH level was observed. On the other hand, alpha-tocopherol resulted in the up-regulation of gamma-GCS-HS (heavy subunit) mRNA. In addition, water soluble alpha-tocopherol derivatives (alpha-tocopherol phosphate and trolox) caused no changes in GSH level. From these results, it was concluded that alpha-tocopherol increases the intracellular GSH level of HaCaT keratinocytes through the up-regulation of gamma-GCS-HS mRNA.

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