Background: X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) is a genetic disorder of X-linked inheritance caused by a mutation in the ABCD1 gene which determines an accumulation of long-chain fatty acids in plasma and tissues. Recent evidence shows that oxidative stress may be a hallmark in the pathogenesis of X-ALD and glutathione plays an important role in the defense against free radicals. In this study we have analyzed glutathione homeostasis in lymphocytes of 14 patients with X-ALD and evaluated the balance between oxidized and reduced forms of glutathione, in order to define the role of this crucial redox marker in this condition.
Methods: Lymphocytes, plasma and erythrocytes were obtained from the whole blood of 14 subjects with X-ALD and in 30 healthy subjects. Total, reduced and protein-bound glutathione levels were measured in lymphocytes by HPLC analysis. Erythrocyte free glutathione and antioxidant enzyme activities, plasma thiols and carbonyl content were determined by spectrophotometric assays.
Results: A significant decrease of total and reduced glutathione was found in lymphocytes of patients, associated to high levels of all oxidized glutathione forms. A decline of free glutathione was particularly significant in erythrocytes. The increased oxidative stress in X-ALD was additionally confirmed by the decrease of plasma thiols and the high level of carbonyls.
Conclusion: Our results strongly support a role for oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of X-ALD and strengthen the importance of the balance among glutathione forms as a hallmark and a potential biomarker of the disease.
Keywords: Glutathione; Oxidative stress; Redox markers; X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD).
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.