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Protective effects of the glutathione redox cycle and vitamin E on cultured fibroblasts infected by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Infect Immun 1986 Apr;52(1):240-4 (ISSN: 0019-9567)

Almagor M; Kahane I; Gilon C; Yatziv S

The role of the glutathione (GSH) redox cycle and vitamin E as antioxidant defense systems was studied in normal human cultured skin fibroblasts infected by virulent Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In cells infected for 20 h, catalase activity was inhibited by 75% and the intracellular GSH decreased to 32% of its normal values. GSH peroxidase and oxidized glutathione (reductase activities in the infected cells were unaffected.) GSSG glutathione in the medium of the infected cells rose in accordance with the intracellular GSH decrease. The observed elevation in GSSG/GSH ratio was attributed to the increase in intracellular H2O2 content in M. pneumoniae-infected cells due to the marked inhibition in their catalase activity. The protective effect of the GSH redox cycle in infected cells was studied by depletion of cellular GSH, prior to their infection with M. pneumoniae, using buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), a selective inhibitor of gamma-glutamyl cysteine synthetase. After 16 h of incubation with BSO, the GSH levels were reduced to 38% of their normal value and recovered to 55% during 24 h after removal of the inhibitor. BSO had no effect on GSH peroxidase and catalase activities in either infected or noninfected cells. The level of malonyldialdehyde (an indicator of membrane lipid peroxidation) in BSO-treated cells infected by M. pneumoniae was 1.8 times higher than in infected controls. Cells enriched with 0.25 and 2.25 micrograms of vitamin E per mg of protein prior to their infection by M. pneumoniae revealed the following: a lesser degree of catalase inhibition, 46 and 30%, respectively, versus 64% in infected control cells that were not supplemented with vitamin E; lower levels of malonyldialdehyde, 55 and 20% increments, respectively, versus a 140% increment in infected controls; higher residual activity of lactate dehydrogenase, 76 and 96%, respectively, versus 58% in infected controls. Our data indicate that the oxidative damage induced in M. pneumoniae-infected cells due to the increase in intracellular levels of H2O2 and O2- is limited by the host cell GSH redox cycle and by supplementation with vitamin E.

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