Protective effects of glutathione, glycine, or alanine in an in vitro model of renal anoxia

Mark S Paller, Marsha Patten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Both glutathione and glycine provide some protection against ischemic renal injury in a variety of experimental models. However, results have been inconsistent and there may also be model heterogeneity. The effects of glutathione, glycine, and alanine in a cell culture model of renal anoxia/reoxygenation injury were tested. When primary cultures of rat proximal tubule epithelial cells were subjected to 60 min of anoxia and 30 min of reoxygenation, glutathione (2 mM) essentially eliminated lethal cell injury as determined by lactate dehydrogenase release. Glycine or alanine, on the other hand, provided only partial protection. Glutamate did not protect, although cysteine did. The glutathione synthesis inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine blocked the protective effect of exogenous glutathione, and the glutathione transport inhibitor probenecid partially blocked glutathione protection. A combination of glycine, glutamate, plus cysteine also protected against anoxia/ reoxygenation injury. The studies suggest that both glutathione degradation with intracellular resynthesis and transport of intact glutathione into the cell are involved in the protection afforded by exogenous glutathione. These results are different from those obtained in other experimental models of renal ischemia, such as freshly isolated proximal tubules, because the protective effects of glutathione were not derived solely from glycine generation. These studies also suggest the need for caution in extrapolating results from one model of renal anoxic injury to another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1338-1344
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 1 1992


  • Alanine
  • Antioxidant
  • Buthionine sulfoximine
  • Probenecid
  • Renal epithelial cells


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