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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2003 Oct;5(5):529-36.

Decreased synthetic capacity underlies the age-associated decline in glutathione content in Fisher 344 rats.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences and Center for Free Radical Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL 35294-0022, USA.


Although it is well documented that the concentration of glutathione (GSH), the most abundant intracellular free thiol and an important antioxidant, declines with age in many tissues of different animal species, the underlying mechanism is not well understood. In a previous study, we showed that the expression of the glutamate cysteine ligase genes was down-regulated with age, accompanied by a decline in GSH content in the liver, kidney, and lung of Fisher 344 rats. The aim of this study was to examine the age-associated changes in the activities of three other enzymes, which also play important roles in GSH biosynthesis, to further explore the mechanism underlying the age-associated decline in GSH content in Fisher 344 rats. The results showed for the first time that the activity and gene expression of glutathione synthase, which catalyzes the second reaction in de novo GSH synthesis, were also decreased with increased age in the lung and kidney, but not in the liver or heart. No age-associated change in the activity of either gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase or glutathione reductase was observed in any of the organs examined. The results further indicate that decreased GSH synthetic capacity is responsible for the age-associated decline in GSH content in Fisher 344 rats.

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