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Am J Physiol. 1991 Jul;261(1 Pt 1):G65-70.

Reduced glutathione protects cultured gastric mucosal cells from suckling rats against acid.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


We examined the role of reduced glutathione as a defense mechanism against acid-induced gastric mucosal cell damage in vitro. Cellular stores of reduced glutathione were depleted by reaction with diethyl maleate (DEM) or 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB) and increased by reaction with L-cysteine. Depletion of cellular glutathione by reaction with DEM or CDNB potentiated gastric mucosal cell lysis by acid. Increase of cellular glutathione by L-cysteine decreased cell lysis by acid. Altering the cellular reduced-to-oxidized glutathione ratio by tert-butyl hydroperoxide or diamide increased cellular susceptibility to acid. Reduced glutathione is essential for glutathione peroxidase to catalyze hydrogen peroxide. We further studied whether oxygen free radicals were involved in the pathogenesis of acid-induced gastric mucosal injury in vitro. Neither superoxide dismutase, catalase, nor dimethyl sulfoxide decreased acid-induced gastric mucosal cell damage. We conclude that reduced glutathione plays an important role as a defense mechanism against acid-induced injury in cultured rat gastric mucosal cells. Production of oxygen radical in response to acid exposure may occur intracellularly, since exogenous oxygen radical scavengers, which do not gain access to the interior of cells, had no protective effect. Reduced glutathione might protect gastric mucosal cells by mechanisms other than the elimination of oxygen free radicals.

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