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J Toxicol Sci. 2008 Oct;33(4):421-9.

Effect of glutathione (GSH) depletion on DNA damage and blood chemistry in aged and young rats.

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Department of Applied Veterinary Science, The Doctoral Course of the United Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Gifu University, Gifu, Japan.


DNA is damaged by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and such damage is age-dependent. Blood chemical parameters also change age-dependently. Glutathione (GSH) plays an important role as an antioxidant. However, the effects of GSH on DNA damage and blood chemistry are unclear. Therefore, this study was aimed to evaluate GSH contribution to DNA damage and changes of blood chemical parameters in aged and young rats. The GSH content in the livers and kidneys of aged rats (20 months) were lower than that in young rats (9 weeks of age) with higher DNA damage detected by a comet assay. There was a negative correlation between the GSH content and the DNA damage in the liver and kidney. L-buthionine (S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO; 0, 5, 20 mM), which inhibits GSH synthesis, was administered in drinking water for 28 days to young and aged rats (8 weeks and 19 months of age at the start of the administration). The treatment significantly decreased GSH levels in the heart, liver, lung and kidney of either the young or aged rats without causing DNA damage in those organs. When compared with young rats, aged rats showed higher levels in aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, total bilirubin, total cholesterol, globulin, creatinine, sodium and chloride and lower levels in alkaline phosphatase, triglyceride, albumin/globulin and inorganic phosphorus. However, BSO did not change these parameters in young or aged rats. These results showed that there was a negative correlation between GSH and DNA damage during aging, but the BSO-induced GSH depletion did not affect DNA damage or blood chemistry levels in young and aged rats under these study conditions.

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