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Acta Diabetol. 2014 Apr;51(2):225-32. doi: 10.1007/s00592-013-0498-2. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

Plasma glutaredoxin activity in healthy subjects and patients with abnormal glucose levels or overt type 2 diabetes.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Oxidative stress induced by hyperglycemia is a key factor in the pathogenesis of diabetes complications. Glutaredoxin 1(Grx1) is a cytosolic redox protein that catalyzes GSH-dependent thiol redox reactions and reversible protein S-glutathionylation. In humans, Grx1 antigen has previously been detected in plasma; however, it has hitherto been unclear if plasma Grx1 is enzymatically active, which would indicate an extracellular function of the protein. Given that glucose overload damages cells through oxidative stress responses, we investigated whether postprandial hyperglycemia induces changes in extracellular Grx1 in patients with abnormal glucose tolerance and healthy subjects. Using a novel sensitive fluorescent substrate assay, we demonstrated that plasma Grx consists of active protein. Grx antigen, activity and total antioxidant capacity were significantly elevated in patients compared to healthy subjects. In response to oral glucose tolerance test, Grx activity and antioxidant capacity increased significantly in healthy volunteers, however, not to the high levels of the patients. In conclusion, these results indicate an extracellular function of plasma Grx in blood glucose metabolism. Thus, Grx may be a marker of increased oxidative stress during hyperglycemia in healthy subjects and may be a risk marker of progression toward diabetes onset.

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