Glutathione transferase protects neuronal cultures against four hydroxynonenal toxicity

Chengsong Xie, Mark A. Lovell, William R. Markesbery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), particularly arachidonic acid, leads to the generation of reactive aldehydes, including 4- hydroxynonenal (HNE). Recent studies have demonstrated an increase in lipid peroxidation, a decline in PUFA, as well as an increase in HNE, and a decrease in glutathione transferase (GST) in the bra!n in Alzheimer's disease. Four-hydroxynonenal is toxic to cultured neurons and to the brain of experimental animals. Although glutathione (GSH) has been shown to offer protection against HNE, no enzymatic system has been described which serves to detoxify these reactive species in neuronal cultures. Here, we describe the use of GST in the protection of neuronal cultures against HNE toxicity. Glutathione transferases are a superfamily of enzymes functioning to catalyze the nucleophilic attack of GSH on electrophilic groups on a second substrate. These enzymes function efficiently with 4-hydroxyalkenals, particularly HNE, as substrates. To investigate the protective effects of GST against HNE, primary hippocampal cultures were pretreated with GST before exposure to toxic doses of HNE which led to a statistically significant enhancement in cell survival. Pretreatment of cultures with equivalent levels of heat inactivated GST or antibody against GST did not offer protection against HNE. Control cultures pretreated with GST also demonstrated enhanced survival compared with control cells receiving no pretreatment. These data suggest that GST may be an important source of protection against the toxic effects of HNE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-988
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 15 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by NIH Grants 1P01-AG05119 and 5P50-AG05144, and a grant from the Abercrombie Foundation. The authors are grateful for the editorial assistance of Paula Thomason and technical assistance of Jane Meara.


  • 4-Hydroxynonenal (HNE)
  • Alzheimer's disease (AD)
  • Glutathione transferase (GST)
  • Neuronal culture
  • Protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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