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Med Hypotheses. 2004;63(3):453-5.

Alternative routes for the formation of glyceraldehyde-derived AGEs (TAGE) in vivo.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokuriku University, Ho-3 Kanagawa-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-1181, Japan.


The advanced stage of the glycation process (one of the post-translational modifications of proteins) leads to the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of angiopathy in diabetic patients, and in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently we have provided direct immunochemical evidence for the existence of six distinct AGEs structures, designated AGEs-1 to -6, within the AGEs-modified proteins and peptides that circulate in the serum of diabetic patients. We found for the first time that glyceraldehyde-derived AGEs (AGE-2), which comprise main structure of TAGE (toxic AGEs), in the serum of diabetic patients have diverse biological activities on vascular wall cells and cortical neurons. These results suggest a causal role for AGE-2 in the pathogenesis of diabetic complications and AD in vivo. In AD brains, AGE-2 epitope was mainly present in the cytosol of neurons in the hippocampus and para-hipocampal gyrus. We propose three pathways for the in vivo formation of AGE-2 precursor, glyceraldehyde, by: (i) glycolytic pathway, (ii) polyol pathway, and (iii) fructose metabolic pathway. Glyceraldehyde can be transported or can leak passively across the plasma membrane. It can react non-enzymatically with proteins to lead to accelerated formation of AGE-2 at both intracellular and extracellular region.

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