The Effect of Acute Oral Galactose Administration on the Redox System of the Rat Small Intestine

Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Dec 24;11(1):37. doi: 10.3390/antiox11010037.


Galactose is a ubiquitous monosaccharide with important yet incompletely understood nutritive and physiological roles. Chronic parenteral d-galactose administration is used for modeling aging-related pathophysiological processes in rodents due to its ability to induce oxidative stress (OS). Conversely, chronic oral d-galactose administration prevents and alleviates cognitive decline in a rat model of sporadic Alzheimer's disease, indicating that galactose may exert beneficial health effects by acting in the gut. The present aim was to explore the acute time-response of intestinal redox homeostasis following oral administration of d-galactose. Male Wistar rats were euthanized at baseline (n = 6), 30 (n = 6), 60 (n = 6), and 120 (n = 6) minutes following orogastric administration of d-galactose (200 mg/kg). The overall reductive capacity, lipid peroxidation, the concentration of low-molecular-weight thiols (LMWT) and protein sulfhydryls (SH), the activity of Mn and Cu/Zn superoxide dismutases (SOD), reduced and oxidized fractions of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphates (NADPH/NADP), and the hydrogen peroxide dissociation rate were analyzed in duodenum and ileum. Acute oral administration of d-galactose increased the activity of SODs and decreased intestinal lipid peroxidation and nucleophilic substrates (LMWT, SH, NADPH), indicating activation of peroxidative damage defense pathways. The redox system of the small intestine can acutely tolerate even high luminal concentrations of galactose (0.55 M), and oral galactose treatment is associated with a reduction rather than the increment of the intestinal OS. The ability of oral d-galactose to modulate intestinal OS should be further explored in the context of intestinal barrier maintenance, and beneficial cognitive effects associated with long-term administration of low doses of d-galactose.

Keywords: galactose; gastrointestinal tract; oxidative stress; redox; redox homeostasis.