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Cell Biol Toxicol. 2003 Nov;19(6):355-66.

Adaptation of subcellular glutathione detoxification system to stress conditions in choline-deficient diet induced rat fatty liver.

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Section of Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Public Medicine, University Medical School of Bari, Italy.


The response of fatty liver to stress conditions (t-butyl hydroperoxide [t-BH] or 36 h of fasting) was investigated by assessing intracellular glutathione (GSH) compartmentation and redox status, GSH peroxidase (GSH-Px) and reductase (GSSG-Rx) activities, lipid peroxidation (TBARs) and serum ALT levels in rats on a choline-deficient diet. Baseline cytosolic GSH was similar between fatty and normal livers, while the mitochondrial GSH content was significantly lower in fatty livers. With the except of cytosolic GSH-Px activity, steatosis was associated with significantly higher GSH-related enzymes activities. Liver TBARs and serum ALT levels were also higher. Administration of t-BH significantly decreased the concentration of cytosolic GSH, increased GSSG levels in all the compartments, and increased TBARs levels in cytosol and mitochondria and serum ALT; all these alterations were more marked in rats with fatty liver. Fasting decreased the concentration of GSH in all the compartments both in normal and fatty livers, increased GSSG, TBARs and ALT levels, and decreased by 50% the activities of GSH-related enzymes. Administration of diethylmaleimide (DEM) resulted in cytosolic and microsomal GSH pool depletion. Administration of t-BH to DEM-treated rats further affected cytosolic GSH and enhanced ALT levels, whereas the application of fasting to GSH depleted rats mainly altered the mitochondrial GSH system, especially in fatty livers. This study shows that fatty livers have a weak compensation of hepatic GSH regulation, which fails under stress conditions, thus increasing the fatty liver's susceptibility to oxidative damage. Differences emerge among subcellular compartments which point to differential adaptation of these organelles to fatty degeneration.

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