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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Feb 6;314(2):351-5.

Antioxidant action of L-alanine: heme oxygenase-1 and ferritin as possible mediators.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Pharmacy, Martin Luther University, 06120 Wolfgang-Langenbeck-Str. 4, Halle (Saale), Germany.


The amino acid L-alanine has been shown to exert long-term cytoprotection by as yet unidentified molecular mechanisms. Using cultured human endothelial cells (ECV 304), the present study investigates the effect of L-alanine on hydrogen peroxide-mediated cytotoxicity and expression of the antioxidant stress proteins, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and ferritin. Pretreatment with L-alanine (0.3-3mM) protected endothelial cells from hydrogen peroxide-dependent cytotoxicity and increased the surviving endothelial cell fraction by 76%. The described protection was associated with a significant induction of heme oxygenase activity and ferritin protein synthesis. A protective effect similar to L-alanine was observed when preincubating the cells with iron-free apoferritin or the antioxidant HO-1 product, bilirubin. The present study demonstrates that L-alanine stimulates expression of the antioxidant defense proteins HO-1 and ferritin in endothelial cells. Increased heme oxygenase activity and ferritin expression improve endothelial dysfunction suggesting an antiatherogenic potential of L-alanine.

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