Glutathione is the main endogenous inhibitor of protein glycation

Gen Physiol Biophys. 2017 Apr;36(2):175-186. doi: 10.4149/gpb_2016044. Epub 2017 Feb 20.


Glycation is the cause of diabetic complications and contributes to the development of other diseases and aging. Numerous exogenous compounds have been tested for their anti-glycating activity. The aim of this study was to answer the question, which endogenous compounds at physiological concentrations can effectively prevent glycation. A set of endogenous compounds has been tested for the ability to protect albumin from glucose-induced glycation in vitro at a concentration of 1 mM and in a physiological concentration range. Only glutathione was found to protect significantly against glycation at physiological concentrations. Glutathione depletion increased the rate of hemoglobin glycation in erythrocytes incubated with high glucose concentrations. These results indicate that the level of glutathione is the main determinant of glycation of intracellular proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Proteins / chemistry
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Glucose / chemistry*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glutathione / blood*
  • Glutathione / chemistry*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / blood
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / chemistry
  • Hemoglobins / chemistry*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry


  • Blood Proteins
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Hemoglobins
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Glutathione
  • Glucose