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Toxicol In Vitro. 2013 Feb;27(1):367-77. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2012.08.012. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

A bioactive probe of the oxidative pentose phosphate cycle: novel strategy to reverse radioresistance in glucose deprived human colon cancer cells.

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Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, 100 Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA 19096, USA.


The specific effects of glucose deprivation on oxidative pentose phosphate cycle (OPPC) function, thiol homeostasis, protein function and cell survival remain unclear due to lack of a glucose-sensitive chemical probe. Using p53 wild type and mutant human colon cells, we determined the effects of hydroxyethyl disulfide (HEDS) on NADPH, GSH, GSSG, total glutathione, total non-protein and protein thiol levels, the function of the DNA repair protein Ku, and the susceptibility to radiation-induced free radicals under normal glucose or glucose-deprived conditions. HEDS is rapidly detoxified in normal glucose but triggered a p53-independent metabolic stress in glucose depleted state that caused loss of NADPH, protein and non-protein thiol homeostasis and Ku function, and enhanced sensitivity of both p53 wild type and mutant cells to radiation induced oxidative stress. Additionally, high concentration of HEDS alone induced cell death in p53 wild type cells without significant effect on p53 mutant cells. HEDS offers a useful tool to gain insights into how glucose metabolism affects OPPC dependent stress-induced cellular functions and injury, including in tumor cells, where our findings imply a novel therapeutic approach to target glucose deprived tumor. Our work introduces a novel probe to address cancer metabolism and ischemic pathology.

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