Depletion of glutathione from brain cells in hyponatremia.
In response to hyponatremia, brain cells extrude electrolytes and organic osmolytes, thereby minimizing brain edema. We demonstrate that rat brain is depleted of the antioxidant glutathione in response to hyponatremia and that osmotically-induced loss of glutathione makes neuronal cells more susceptible to oxidative injury. Total glutathione content of brain tissue decreased from 6.80 +/- 0.14 mumol/g dry wt in normonatremic controls to 5.00 +/- 0.31 mumol/g dry wt after 72 hours of hyponatremia. Following slow correction of hyponatremia, brain glutathione content returned to control values (6.77 +/- 0.34 mumol/g dry wt). Brain content of taurine, a beta-amino acid with antioxidant properties, similarly decreased in hyponatremia (29.6 +/- 0.9 to 17.1 +/- 1.2 mumol/g dry wt), then increased with slow correction (24.8 +/- 1.3 mumol/g dry wt). Although taurine served as an osmolyte in rat heart, liver and brain, osmotically-induced changes in glutathione content were found only in brain. We also studied osmotically-induced changes in glutathione and taurine content in C6 glioma and SK-N-SH neuroblastoma cells. In both cell lines, adaptive decreases in glutathione and taurine content were found in response to lowering medium sodium concentration from 140 mM to 100 mM. The cell content of these solutes increased after returning to media containing 140 mM sodium. Following exposure of both cell lines to hypoosmolar media, there was no increase in media content of glutathione. This suggest that osmotic depletion of glutathione is not due to cellular efflux of intact glutathione. We questioned if osmotic depletion of glutathione and taurine renders brain cells more susceptible to oxidative stress. Incubation of SK-N-SH cells with 1.0 mM H2O2 for four hours induced greater cytolytic injury in cells adapted to hypoosmolar media than in isoosmolar controls. Hypoosmolar C6 glioma cells were not significantly more sensitive to cytolytic injury from H2O2 than were cells grown in isosmolar media. We conclude that hypoosmolality induces glutathione depletion in rat brain in vivo and in cultured brain cells in vitro. Osmotic depletion of this antioxidant renders SK-N-SH neuronal cells more susceptible to oxidative injury.
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