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Biochem J. 1988 Sep 1;254(2):411-7.

Glutathione replenishment capacity is lower in isolated perivenous than in periportal hepatocytes.

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Research Laboratories of the Finnish State Alcohol Company (Alko Ltd.), Helsinki, Finland.


The zonal distribution of GSH metabolism was investigated by comparing hepatocytes obtained from the periportal (zone 1) or perivenous (zone 3) region by digitonin/collagenase perfusion. Freshly isolated periportal and perivenous cells had similar viability (dye exclusion, lactate dehydrogenase leakage and ATP content) and GSH content (2.4 and 2.7 mumol/g respectively). During incubation, periportal cells slowly accumulated GSH (0.35 mumol/h per g), whereas in perivenous cells a decrease occurred (-0.14 mumol/h per g). Also, in the presence of either L-methionine or L-cysteine (0.5 mM) periportal hepatocytes accumulated GSH much faster (3.5 mumol/h per g) than did perivenous cells (1.9 mumol/h per g). These periportal-perivenous differences were also found in cells from fasted rats. Efflux of GSH was faster from perivenous cells than from periportal cells, but this difference only explained 10-20% of the periportal-perivenous difference in accumulation. Furthermore, periportal cells accumulated GSH to a plateau 26-40% higher than in perivenous cells. There was no significant difference in gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase or glutathione synthetase activity between the periportal and perivenous cell preparations. The periportal-perivenous difference in GSH accumulation was unaffected by inhibition of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase or by 5 mM-glutamate or -glutamine, but was slightly diminished by 2 mM-L-methionine. This suggests differences between periportal and perivenous cells in their metabolism and/or transport of (sulphur) amino acids. Our results suggest that a lower GSH replenishment capacity of the hepatocytes from the perivenous region may contribute to the greater vulnerability of this region to xenobiotic damage.

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