Persistence of improved glucose homeostasis in Gclm null mice with age and cadmium treatment

Redox Biol. 2021 Dec 20;49:102213. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2021.102213. Online ahead of print.


Antioxidant signaling/communication is among the most important cellular defense and survival pathways, and the importance of redox signaling and homeostasis in aging has been well-documented. Intracellular levels of glutathione (GSH), a very important endogenous antioxidant, both govern and are governed by the Nrf2 pathway through expression of genes involved in its biosynthesis, including the subunits of the rate-limiting enzyme (glutamate cysteine ligase, GCL) in GSH production, GCLC and GCLM. Mice homozygous null for the Gclm gene are severely deficient in GSH compared to wild-type controls, expressing approximately 10% of normal GSH levels. To compensate for GSH deficiency, Gclm null mice have upregulated redox-regulated genes, and, surprisingly, are less susceptible to certain types of oxidative damage. Furthermore, young Gclm null mice display an interesting lean phenotype, resistance to high fat diet-induced diabetes and obesity, improved insulin and glucose tolerance, and decreased expression of genes involved in lipogenesis. However, the persistence of this phenotype has not been investigated into old age, which is important in light of studies which suggest aging attenuates antioxidant signaling, particularly in response to exogenous stimuli. In this work, we addressed whether aging compromises the favorable phenotype of increased antioxidant activity and improved glucose homeostasis observed in younger Gclm null mice. We present data showing that under basal conditions and in response to cadmium exposure (2 mg/kg, dosed once via intraperitoneal injection), the phenotype previously described in young (<6 months) Gclm null mice persists into old age (24+ months). We also provide evidence that transcriptional activation of the Nrf2, AMPK, and PPARγ pathways underlie the favorable metabolic phenotype observed previously in young Gclm null mice.

PMID:34953454 | DOI:10.1016/j.redox.2021.102213

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