Diabetes-induced changes in glucose formation, intracellular and mitochondrial glutathione redox states as well as hydroxyl free radicals (HFR) generation have been investigated in rabbit kidney-cortex tubules. In contrast to renal tubules of control animals, diabetes-evoked increase in glucose formation in the presence of either aspartate+glycerol+octanoate or malate as gluconeogenic precursors (for about 50%) was accompanied by a diminished intracellular glutathione reduced form (GSH)/glutathione oxidised one (GSSG) ratio by about 30-40%, while the mitochondrial GSH/GSSG ratio was not altered. However, a relationship between the rate of gluconeogenesis and the intracellular glutathione redox state was maintained in renal tubules of both control and diabetic rabbits, as concluded from measurements in the presence of various gluconeogenic precursors. Moreover, diabetes resulted in both elevation of the glutathione reductase activity in rabbit kidney-cortex and acceleration of renal HFR generation (by about 2-fold). On the addition of melatonin, the hormone exhibiting antioxidative properties, the control values of HFR production were restored, suggesting that this compound might be beneficial during diabetes therapy. In view of the data, it seems likely that diabetes-induced increase in HFR formation in renal tubules might be responsible for a diminished intracellular glutathione redox state despite elevated glutathione reductase activity and accelerated rate of gluconeogenesis, providing glucose-6-phosphate for NADPH generation via pentose phosphate pathway.
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