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Brain Res. 1997 Feb 14;748(1-2):151-6.

Vulnerability to glucose deprivation injury correlates with glutathione levels in astrocytes.

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Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5117, USA.


Astrocyte death from glucose deprivation appears to be mediated by free radicals. Reduced glutathione (GSH) was used as a measure of antioxidant defenses in primary cultures of cortical astrocytes. Glucose deprivation caused progressive, near complete loss of reduced glutathione (GSH). Astrocytes were protected by increasing endogenous GSH levels. Depletion of GSH to 21.4 +/- 3.3% of controls by the glutathione synthetase inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine resulted in more rapid injury by glucose deprivation, yet depletion of glutathione alone did not kill astrocytes. Both enhanced lipid peroxidation and membrane rigidification were caused by glucose deprivation, both indicators of oxidative damage. Membrane peroxidation was detected as a 24 +/- 2% decrease in cis-parinaric acid fluorescence, membrane rgidification as a 6.3 +/- 0.8% increase in fluorescence anisotropy using diphenylhexatriene. Glucose deprivation under normoxic conditions may occur clinically in patients such as diabetics. In addition, oxidative damage in the setting of energy depletion occurs with other insults, including ischemic brain injury. Glucose deprivation may thus be a clinically relevant model of hypoglycemic astrocyte injury, and may be useful to investigate the effects of glutathione and redox modulation on second messenger systems and gene regulation.

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