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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1990 May 22;1052(3):386-91.

Studies on the efficacy of lipoate and dihydrolipoate in the alteration of cadmium2+ toxicity in isolated hepatocytes.

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Institute of Toxicology, University of Düsseldorf, F.R.G.


Lipoate (thioctic acid) is presently used in therapy of a variety of diseases such as liver and neurological disorders. However, nothing is known about the efficacy of lipoate and its reduced form dihydrolipoate in acute cadmium (Cd2+) toxicity which involves severe liver disturbances. Therefore, we investigated the effects of these redox compounds on Cd2(+)-induced injuries in isolated rat hepatocytes. The cells were coincubated with 150 microM Cd2+ and either 1.5-6.0 mM lipoate or 17-89 microM dihydrolipoate for up to 90 min and Cd2+ uptake as well as viability criteria were monitored. Both exposure regimens diminished Cd2+ uptake in correspondence to time and concentration. They also ameliorated Cd2(+)-induced cell deterioration as reflected by the decrease in Cd2(+)-induced membrane damage (leakage of aspartate aminotransferase), by the lessening of the Cd2(+)-stimulated lipid peroxidation (TBA-reactants) and by the increase in Cd2(+)-depleted cellular glutathione (GSH + 2 GSSG). Half-maximal protection was achieved at molar ratios of 9.9 to 19 (lipoate vs. Cd2+) and 0.25 to 0.74 (dihydrolipoate vs. Cd2+), indicating a 19.5 to 50.6 lower protective efficacy of lipoate as compared to dihydrolipoate. Lipoate induced an increase in extracellular acid-soluble thiols different from glutathione. It is suggested that dihydrolipoate primarily protects cells by extracellular chelation of Cd2+, whereas intracellular reduction of lipoate to the dihydro-compound followed by complexation of both intra- and extracellular Cd2+ contributes to the amelioration provided by lipoate.

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