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Brain Res. 1995 May 22;680(1-2):16-22.

Distribution of glutathione and glutathione-related enzyme systems in mitochondria and cytosol of cultured cerebellar astrocytes and granule cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Rutgers College of Pharmacy, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


The cellular and regional distribution of glutathione (GSH) and GSH-related enzyme systems involved in cellular defense against reactive oxygen species and electrophilic xenobiotics in the nervous system has been extensively studied. However, little is known about the subcellular distribution of GSH systems in brain tissue and cultured neural cells. The present study investigates the distribution of mitochondrial and cytosolic GSH and GSH-related enzymes in cultured cerebellar astrocytes and granule cells, and compares them with levels in the adult rat cerebellum. Cytosolic GSH levels and cytosolic activities of glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) in astrocytes were 57, 153, 245, and 92% higher than those found in granule cells, respectively. In contrast, granule cells contained significantly higher mitochondrial GSH levels than astrocytes. Granule cells also demonstrated comparable mitochondria/cytosolic concentrations of GSH and GR, GPX and GST activities to those observed in the cerebellar tissue, whereas ratios in astrocytes were markedly lower. Although in vitro treatments with 100 microM ethacrynic acid depleted both cytosolic and mitochondrial GSH in cultured astrocytes and granule cells in a time-dependent fashion, cellular GSH in granule cells was more resistant to the GSH-depleting agent than astrocytes. These results suggest that although GSH and GSH-related enzymes are abundant in cytosolic compartments of astrocytes, mitochondrial pools are relatively small. Since brain mitochondria are sites of significant hydrogen peroxide generation, the mitochondrial localization of GSH and its associated enzymes in neural cells provide important defenses against toxic oxygen species in the nervous system. Differences in subcellular distribution of GSH systems in individual neural cell types may provide a basis for selective cellular and/or subcellular expression of neurotoxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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