Res. Chem. Intermed.
, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 57 –70 (2002)
Some molecular aspects of the radiation-induced oxidative
degradation of glutathione
and ARMIDA TORREGGIANI
Istituto F.R.A.E. (C.N.R.), Area della Ricerca, via P. Gobetti, 101, 40129-Bologna, Italy
Received 7 July 2001; accepted 1 October 2001
Abstract—Glutathione (GSH) is well known to have an important role as natural antioxidant. Some
aspects of GSH degradation following the capture of water primary radicals in aerated or deaerated
medium were investigated after ° -irradiation and by pulse radiolysis.
Some relevant reactions involved in the GSH oxidation mechanism, leading to GSOO
products, were evidenced by pulse radiolysis experiments.
From the quantitative determinations of the GSH degradation and the GSSG formation, useful
indications on the fate of thiyl radicals (GS
), the most preminent sulfur centred intermediates, were
drawn out in anaerobic and aerobic conditions.
: Glutathione; pulse radiolysis; sulfur-peroxyl radical; HPLC.
Glutathione (GSH), a tripeptide containing L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine and glycine,
is the most abundant non-proteic thiol in the great majority of cells and organisms
(1– 50 £ 10
M). GSH is considered one of the most important agents capable of
protecting cells against free radicals formed during oxidative metabolism or from
exposure to drugs or ionising radiations . The oxidation of the thiol group of
GSH yields glutathione disulphide (GSSG), a very stable product, but also sulphenic
(GSOH), sulphinic (GSO
H) and sulfonic acids (GSO
H) can be formed . GSSG
is normally present in cells in much lower concentrations (6–200 £ 10
GSH, but modest changes in these low concentrations may be critical for regulation
of certain physiological processes . In fact, GSH and GSSG are associated
with certain aspects of normal structural and functional processes of many cells,
and are connected to the defence against pathological changes caused by various
agents [4, 5].
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