Antioxidant action of L-alanine: Heme oxygenase-1 and ferritin as possible mediators

Nina Grosser, Stefanie Oberle, Georg Berndt, Kati Erdmann, Anke Hemmerle, Henning Schröder

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66 Scopus citations


The amino acid L-alanine has been shown to exert long-term cytoprotection by as yet unidentified molecular mechanisms. Using cultured human endothelial cells (ECV 304), the present study investigates the effect of L-alanine on hydrogen peroxide-mediated cytotoxicity and expression of the antioxidant stress proteins, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and ferritin. Pretreatment with L-alanine (0.3-3mM) protected endothelial cells from hydrogen peroxide-dependent cytotoxicity and increased the surviving endothelial cell fraction by 76%. The described protection was associated with a significant induction of heme oxygenase activity and ferritin protein synthesis. A protective effect similar to L-alanine was observed when preincubating the cells with iron-free apoferritin or the antioxidant HO-1 product, bilirubin. The present study demonstrates that L-alanine stimulates expression of the antioxidant defense proteins HO-1 and ferritin in endothelial cells. Increased heme oxygenase activity and ferritin expression improve endothelial dysfunction suggesting an antiatherogenic potential of L-alanine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-355
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 6 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by BMBF grant “Molekulare Ernährungsforschung” (0312750 A).


  • Amino acid
  • Antioxidant
  • Bilirubin
  • Cell injury
  • Cytoprotection
  • Endothelial cells
  • Ferrtin
  • Gene expression
  • Heme oxygenase-1
  • L-alanine


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