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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Increase in renal glutathione in cholestatic liver disease is due to a direct effect of bile acids.

Hepatic synthesis and plasma levels of glutathione are markedly decreased in chronic liver disease. Because glutathione turnover is highest in kidneys, we examined whether changes in kidney glutathione occur in chronic cholestasis and whether they are related to kidney dysfunction in liver disease. Kidney and plasma GSH and GSSG were measured 1) in bile duct-ligated (BDL) rats; 2) in healthy rats after bile acid loading to mimic cholestasis; and 3) after irreversible inhibition of glutathione synthetase with buthionine-sulfoximine (BSO), where glutathione consumption, urinary volume, and sodium excretion were also estimated. In addition, gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS) mRNA, protein, and enzymatic specific activity were measured in kidney tissue after BDL. After BDL, kidney GSH and GSSG increased within hours by 67 and 66%, respectively. The increases were not related to plasma glutathione, which decreased below control values. Intravenous bile acid loading caused identical increases in GSH and GSSG as occurred after BDL, when glycine- or taurine-conjugated dihydroxy bile acids were administered. Glutathione consumption, as estimated after blocking of de novo synthesis with BSO, was significantly increased after BDL (127 vs. 44 nmol x g-1 x min-1). gamma-GCS mRNA and enzymatic specific activity were significantly reduced 5 days after BDL, whereas protein concentrations did not change. The urinary sodium concentration was 70% lower in BDL than in control rats. Depletion of renal glutathione normalized sodium excretion by increasing urinary sodium concentration and urinary volume. The increase in kidney glutathione after BDL seems to be mediated by an increase in plasma bile acids and is critically related to sodium retention. The increase in GSH consumption despite reduced gamma-GCS activity indicates a decreased GSH turnover tentatively due to reduced renal GSH efflux by competition with organic anions at membrane transport proteins.[1]


  1. Increase in renal glutathione in cholestatic liver disease is due to a direct effect of bile acids. Purucker, E., Marschall, H.U., Geier, A., Gartung, C., Matern, S. Am. J. Physiol. Renal Physiol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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