Glutathione and gamma-glutamyl cycle enzymes in human fetal liver

Rollins, D. ; Larsson, A. ; Steen, B. ; Krishnaswamy, K. ; Hagenfeldt, L. ; Moldeus, P. ; Rane, A. (1981) Glutathione and gamma-glutamyl cycle enzymes in human fetal liver Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 217 (3). pp. 697-700. ISSN 0022-3565

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Human fetal and adult liver were found to have similar concentrations of acid soluble sulfhydryl (SH) groups (7.4 mmol/kg) in the same range as is found in adult mouse and rat liver. The concentration was 4-fold higher than in human fetal adrenal gland tissue. Methods specific for glutathione (GSH) associated SH groups revealed that the postmortem levels of GSH is very low (0.4 mmol/kg) in relation to total SH groups. In contrast, the levels of cysteine were high (2.8 mmol/kg), indicating a rapid cleavage of GSH. Only negligible amounts of gamma-glutamylcysteine and cysteinylglycine were measured. Our findings may be explained by high fetal activity of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (which metabolizes GSH) that has been documented previously both in man and in experimental animals. High activities of the two GSH-synthesizing enzymes, gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase and GSH synthetase were found in the human fetal liver (7.1 and 3.0 mukat/kg, respectively). The activities of these enzymes were in the same range as in human adult liver, whereas that of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase was 3-fold higher in the fetal liver. Our results demonstrate the presence of high concentration of SH groups and capacity to synthesize GSH already in the first and second trimester of the human fetal gestation. This has more than theoretical interest, since we assume that the SH groups (GSH) have importance for the protection of the fetus against drugs and foreign compounds and their (toxic) metabolites, the formation of which is catalyzed by the fetus itself.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
ID Code:18668
Deposited On:17 Nov 2010 12:36
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