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

Modulation of cellular reducing equivalent homeostasis by alpha-lipoic acid. Mechanisms and implications for diabetes and ischemic injury.

The therapeutic potential of alpha-lipoic acid (thioctic acid) was evaluated with respect to its influence on cellular reducing equivalent homeostasis. The requirement of NADH and NADPH as cofactors in the cellular reduction of alpha-lipoic acid to dihydrolipoate has been reported in various cells and tissues. However, there is no direct evidence describing the influence of such reduction of alpha-lipoate on the levels of cellular reducing equivalents and homeostasis of the NAD(P)H/NAD(P) ratio. Treatment of the human Wurzburg T-cell line with 0.5 mM alpha-lipoate for 24 hr resulted in a 30% decrease in cellular NADH levels. alpha-Lipoate treatment also decreased cellular NADPH, but this effect was relatively less and slower compared with that of NADH. A concentration-dependent increase in glucose uptake was observed in Wurzburg cells treated with alpha-lipoate. Parallel decreases (30%) in cellular NADH/NAD+ and in lactate/pyruvate ratios were observed in alpha-lipoate-treated cells. Such a decrease in the NADH/NAD+ ratio following treatment with alpha-lipoate may have direct implications in diabetes, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and other pathologies where reductive (high NADH/NAD+ ratio) and oxidant (excess reactive oxygen species) imbalances are considered as major factors contributing to metabolic disorders. Under conditions of reductive stress, alpha-lipoate decreases high NADH levels in the cell by utilizing it as a co-factor for its own reduction process, whereas in oxidative stress both alpha-lipoate and its reduced form, dihydrolipoate, may protect by direct scavenging of free radicals and recycling other antioxidants from their oxidized forms.[1]


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