Human aldo-keto reductase AKR7A2 protects against the cytotoxicity and mutagenicity of reactive aldehydes and lowers intracellular reactive oxygen species in hamster V79-4 cells

Chem Biol Interact. 2012 Jan 5;195(1):25-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Aldo-keto reductase (AKR) enzymes are critical for the detoxication of endogenous and exogenous aldehydes. Previous studies have shown that the AKR7A2 enzyme is catalytically active toward aldehydes arising from lipid peroxidation, suggesting a potential role against the consequences of oxidative stress, and representing an important detoxication route in mammalian cells. The aim of this study was to determine the ability of AKR7A2 to protect cells against aldehyde cytotoxicity and genotoxicity and elucidate its potential role in providing resistance to oxidative stress. A transgenic mammalian cell model was developed in which AKR7A2 was overexpressed in V79-4 cells and used to evaluate the ability of AKR7A2 to provide resistance against toxic aldehydes. Results show that AKR7A2 provides increased resistance to the cytotoxicity of 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) and modest resistance to the cytotoxicity of trans, trans-muconaldehyde (MUC) and methyglyoxal, but provided no protection against crotonaldehyde and acrolein. Cells expressing AKR7A2 were also found to be less susceptible to DNA damage, showing a decrease in mutation rate cause by 4-HNE compared to control cells. Furthermore, the role of the AKR7A2 enzyme on the cellular capability to cope with oxidative stress was assessed. V79 cells expressing AKR7A2 were more resistant to the redox-cycler menadione and were able to lower menadione-induced ROS levels in both a time and dose dependent manner. In addition, AKR7A2 was able to maintain intracellular GSH levels in the presence of menadione. Together these findings indicate that AKR7A2 is involved in cellular detoxication pathways and may play a defensive role against oxidative stress in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / toxicity
  • Aldehyde Reductase / genetics
  • Aldehyde Reductase / metabolism*
  • Aldehydes / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mutagenicity Tests
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pyruvaldehyde / toxicity
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Aldehydes
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • muconaldehyde
  • Pyruvaldehyde
  • Acrolein
  • 2-butenal
  • aflatoxin B1 aldehyde reductase
  • Aldehyde Reductase
  • Caspase 3
  • Glutathione
  • 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal