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Toxicology. 2006 Sep 21;226(2-3):126-30. Epub 2006 Jun 16.

Glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase activities are partially responsible for determining the susceptibility of cells to oxidative stress.

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Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China.


Different cell types response differently to toxic insult. In a previous study, it was demonstrated that the C6 glioma cell is more sensitive to Cd induced oxidative stress than the HepG2 cells. To explain the difference between the two cell lines in their response to oxidative stress, it was hypothesized that the activity of glutathione metabolizing enzymes may be different. The objective of this study is to determine the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR) in the two cell lines and to explain how these differences may affect the susceptibility of the two cells to oxidative stress. In the HepG2 cells, the activity of GPx was 2.24+/-0.18 micromol/mg protein/min and that for GR was 5.63+/-0.58 micromol/mg protein/min. For the C6 glioma cells, GPx and GR activities were 1.29+/-0.14 and 1.07+/-0.11 micromol/mg protein/min, respectively. Using the kinetic equilibrium: K(eq)=([GSSG]x[NADPH]x[H(+)])/([GSH](2)x[NADP(+)]), and the GSH/GSSG previously published (HepG2: 2.6 and C6 glioma: 3.6), resting NADPH/NADP(+) for the cell lines were calculated. The results showed that NADPH/NADP(+) for HepG2 cells (17.8) is higher than that in the C6 glioma cells (10.8). These data supported the notion that the reducing power (NADPH/NADP(+)) in the HepG2 cells is higher than that in the C6 glioma cell and thus, the later would be more susceptible to oxidative stress. The results also suggested that besides GSH/GSSG, the activities of GPx and GR are important in predicting tissue redox state. Applying this hypothesis to animal tissues, the ratio of the activities of the two enzymes in mouse liver, cerebral cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum were measured. It was demonstrated that the activities of GPx and GR were different in the different tissues studied. The possible correlation between enzymatic activities and the redox state in the different tissues were discussed.

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