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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Apr;1822(4):550-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2012.01.003. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Differential effects of α-tocopherol and N-acetyl-cysteine on advanced glycation end product-induced oxidative damage and neurite degeneration in SH-SY5Y cells.

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Department ofNutrition Science, Purdue University, 700 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) result from non-enzymatic glycation of proteins and cause cellular oxidative stress in a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase-dependent manner. Due to these effects, AGEs are implicated as a causal factor in diabetic complications. Several antioxidants, including vitamin E, improve cell viability and diminish markers of oxidative damage in cells exposed to AGEs. However, vitamin E has been studied in cell culture systems with primary focus on apoptosis and lipid peroxidation, while its influences on AGE-induced protein and DNA oxidation, intracellular antioxidant status and cell morphology remain largely unknown. Here, we verify the suppression of AGE-induced cell death and lipid peroxidation by 200μM α-tocopherol in SH-SY5Y cells. We report the partial inhibition of DNA oxidation and a decrease in protein carbonyl formation by α-tocopherol with no effects on intracellular GSH concentrations. We observed that 2mM N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) also had a suppressive effect on DNA and protein oxidation, but unlike α-tocopherol, it caused a marked increase in intracellular GSH. Finally, we compared the ability of both antioxidants to maintain neurites in SH-SY5Y cells and found that α-tocopherol had no effect on neurite loss due to AGEs, while NAC fully maintained cell morphology. Thus, while α-tocopherol suppressed AGE-induced macromolecule damage, it was ineffective against neurite degeneration. These results may implicate thiol oxidation and maintenance as a major regulator of neurite degeneration in this model.

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