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Enhanced methylglyoxal formation in cystathionine γ-lyase knockout mice



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Methylglyoxal (MG) is a reactive glucose metabolite and a known causative factor for hypertension and diabetes. Hydrogen sulfide (H₂S), on the other hand, is a gasotransmitter with multifaceted physiological functions, including anti-oxidant and vasodilatory properties. The present study demonstrates that MG and H₂S can interact with and modulate each other's functions. Upon in vitro incubations, we found that MG and H₂S can directly interact to form three possible MG-H₂S adducts. Furthermore, the endogenous production level of MG or H₂S was significantly reduced in a concentration-dependent manner in rat vascular smooth muscle cells (A-10 cells) treated with NaHS, a H₂S donor, or MG, respectively. Indeed, MG-treated A-10 cells exhibited a concentration-dependent down-regulation of the protein and activity level of cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE), the main H₂S-generating enzyme in the vasculature. Moreover, H₂S can induce the inhibition of MG-generated ROS production in a concentration-dependent manner in A-10 cells. In 6-22 week-old CSE knockout male mice (CSE⁻/⁻), mice with lower levels of vascular H₂S, we observed a significant elevation in MG levels in both plasma and renal extracts. Renal triosephosphates were also significantly increased in the 6-22 week-old CSE⁻/⁻ mice. To identify the source of the elevated renal MG levels, we found that the activity of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase), the rate-limiting enzyme in gluconeogenesis, was significantly down-regulated, along with lower levels of its product (fructose-6-phosphate) and higher levels of its substrate (fructose-1,6-bisphosphate) in the kidney of 6-22 week-old CSE⁻/⁻ mice. We have also observed lower levels of the gluconeogenic regulator, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator (PGC)-1α, and its down-stream targets, FBPase-1 and -2, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK), and estrogen-related receptor (ERR)α mRNA expression levels in renal extracts from 6-22 week-old CSE⁻/⁻ mice. Likewise, FBPase-1 and -2 mRNA levels were also significantly down-regulated in aorta tissues from 14-16 week-old CSE⁻/⁻ mice. Administration of 30 and 50 µM NaHS induced a significant increase in FBPase-1 and PGC-1α in rat A-10 cells. We have also observed a significant up-regulation of PEPCK and ERRα mRNA expression levels in 50 µM NaHS-treated A-10 cells, further confirming the involvement of H₂S in regulating the rate of gluconeogenesis and MG formation. Overall, this unique study demonstrates the existence of a negative correlation between MG and H₂S in the vasculature. Further elucidation of this cross-talk phenomenon between MG and H₂S could lead to more elaborate and effective therapeutic regimens to combat metabolic syndrome and its related health complications.



Hydrogen sulfide, Fructose-1 6-bisphosphatase, Vascular smooth muscle cells, Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-g, Methylglyoxal, Reactive oxygen species



Master of Science (M.Sc.)






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