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Exp Gerontol. 2001 Dec;37(1):81-7.

Effect of DL-alpha-lipoic acid on glutathione metabolic enzymes in aged rats.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Dr AL Mudaliar Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani Campus, 600 113, Chennai, India.


Ageing is characterized by a failure to maintain homeostasis under conditions of physiological stress, with an increasing susceptibility to disease and death. The accumulation of errors committed by faulty biochemical reactions over a vast period generates the cumulative effect observed during ageing. The most notable among the effects of ageing are the age-related disorders where free radicals are the major cause. When the level of free radicals increases because of diet, lifestyle, environment or other influences, it results in subsequent reduction of antioxidants. Reduced glutathione is one of the most fascinating molecules virtually present in all animal cells in often quite higher concentrations. An essential mechanism that accounts for most of the metabolic and cell regulatory properties of glutathione is the thiol disulfide exchange equilibria. We evaluated the age-associated alterations in glutathione dependent enzymes, glutathione and hydroxyl radicals in young and aged rats with respect to lipoate supplementation. In aged rats, activities of glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, glutathione-S-transferase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and the level of glutathione were low, whereas the level of hydroxyl radical was higher than in the young ones. Administration of DL-alpha-lipoic acid, a thiol antioxidant intraperitoneally to the aged rats, led to a time-dependent reduction in hydroxyl radicals and elevation in the activities/level of glutathione systems. Hence it can be suggested that lipoate, a dithiol prevents the oxidation of reduced glutathione and protects its related enzymes from peroxidative damage.

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