Intestinal glutathione: determinant of mucosal peroxide transport, metabolism, and oxidative susceptibility


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Abstract

The intestine is a primary site of nutrient absorption and a critical defense barrier against dietary-derived mutagens, carcinogens, and oxidants. Accumulation of oxidants like peroxidized lipids in the gut lumen can contribute to impairment of mucosal metabolic pathways, enterocyte dysfunction independent of cell injury, and development of gut pathologies, such as inflammation and cancer. Despite this recognition, we know little of the pathways of intestinal transport, metabolism, and luminal disposition of dietary peroxides in vivo or of the underlying mechanisms of lipid peroxide-induced genesis of intestinal disease processes. This chapter summarizes our current understanding of the determinants of intestinal absorption and metabolism of peroxidized lipids. I will review experimental evidence from our laboratory and others (Table 1) supporting the pivotal role that glutathione (GSH) and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) play in mucosal transport and metabolism of lipid hydroperoxides and how reductant availability can be compromised under chronic stress such as hypoxia, and the influence of GSH on oxidative susceptibility, and redox contribution to genesis of gut disorders. The discussion is pertinent to understanding dietary lipid peroxides and GSH redox balance in intestinal physiology and pathophysiology and the significance of luminal GSH in preserving the integrity of the intestinal epithelium.

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