Tryptophan administration induces oxidative stress in brain cortex of rats

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Despite the significant brain abnormalities, the neurotoxic mechanisms of brain injury in hypertryptophanemia are virtually unknown. In this work, we determined the thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, 2′,7′-dihydrodichlorofluorescein oxidation, reduced glutathione and the activities of catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in cerebral cortex from rats loaded with L-tryptophan. High L-tryptophan concentrations, similar to those found in hypertryptophanemic patients were induced by three subcutaneous injections of saline-buffered tryptophan (2 μmol/g body weight) to 30-day-old Wistar rats. The parameters were assessed 1 h after the last injection. It was observed that tryptophan significantly increased thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances, 2′,7′-dihydrodichlorofluorescein oxidation and reduced glutathione, whereas it reduced catalase activity. Pre-treatment with taurine (1.6 μmol/g of body weight), or α-tocopherol plus ascorbic acid (40 and 100 μg/g body weight, respectively) prevented those effects of tryptophan, reinforcing the hypothesis that tryptophan induces oxidative stress in brain cortex of the rats. Therefore, these findings also occur in human hypertryptophanemia or in other neurodegenerative diseases in which tryptophan accumulates, then oxidative stress may be involved in the mechanisms leading to the brain injury observed in patients affected by these disorders.

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