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

Two-photon imaging of glutathione levels in intact brain indicates enhanced redox buffering in developing neurons and cells at the cerebrospinal fluid and blood-brain interface.

Glutathione is the major cellular thiol present in mammalian cells and is critical for maintenance of redox homeostasis. However, current assay systems for glutathione lack application to intact animal tissues. To map the levels of glutathione in intact brain with cellular resolution (acute tissue slices and live animals), we have used two-photon imaging of monochlorobimane fluorescence, a selective enzyme-mediated marker for reduced glutathione. Previously, in vitro experiments using purified components and cultured glial cells attributed cellular monochlorobimane fluorescence to a glutathione S-transferase-dependent reaction with GSH. Our results indicate that cells at the cerebrospinal fluid or blood-brain interface, such as lateral ventricle ependymal cells (2.73 +/- 0.56 mm; glutathione), meningeal cells (1.45 +/- 0.09 mm), and astroglia (0.91 +/- 0.08 mm), contain high levels of glutathione. In comparison, layer II cortical neurons contained 20% (0.21 +/- 0.02 mm) the glutathione content of nearby astrocytes. Neuronal glutathione labeling increased 250% by the addition of the cell-permeable glutathione precursor N-acetylcysteine indicating that the monochlorobimane level or glutathione S-transferase activity within neurons was not limiting. Regional mapping showed that glutathione was highest in cells lining the lateral ventricles, specifically ependymal cells and the subventricular zone, suggesting a possible function for glutathione in oxidant homeostasis of developing neuronal progenitors. Consistently, developing neurons in the subgranular zone of dentate gyrus contained 3-fold more glutathione than older neurons found in the neighboring granular layer. In conclusion, mapping of glutathione levels in intact brain demonstrates a unique role for enhanced redox potential in developing neurons and cells at the cerebrospinal fluid and blood-brain interface.[1]


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