Alpha-lipoic acid (α-LA) is an important antioxidant that is capable of regenerating other antioxidants, such as glutathione (GSH). However, the underlying molecular mechanism by which α-LA regenerates GSH remains poorly understood. The current study aimed to investigate whether α-LA regenerates GSH by activation of Nrf2 to alleviate cadmium-induced cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells. In the present study, we found that cadmium induced cell death by depletion of GSH through inactivation of Nrf2. Addition of α-LA to cadmium-treated cells reactivated Nrf2 and regenerated GSH through elevating the Nrf2-downstream genes γ-glutamate-cysteine ligase (γ-GCL) and GR, both of which are key enzymes for GSH synthesis. However, blocking Nrf2 with brusatol in the cells co-treated with α-LA and cadmium reduced the mRNA and the protein levels of γ-GCL and GR, thus suppressed GSH regeneration by α-LA. Our results indicated that α-LA activated Nrf2 signaling pathway, which upregulated the transcription of the enzymes for GSH synthesis and therefore GSH contents to alleviate cadmium-induced cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells.
Keywords: Cadmium; Glutathione; Nrf2; Regeneration; α-Lipoic acid.
Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.