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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2 (2009), Issue 3, Pages 172-175

O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine During Hyperglycemia Exerts Both Anti-Inflammatory and Pro-Oxidative Properties in the Endothelial System

Vascular Biology, Department of Medicine, Division of Physiology; Faculty of Science, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

Received 13 March 2009; Revised 18 March 2009; Accepted 18 March 2009

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Elevated cellular levels of protein O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) through hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP) are suggested to contribute to cardiovascular adverse effects under chronic hyperglycemic condition associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. Conversely, enhancing O-GlcNAc levels have also been demonstrated being protective against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. We recently demonstrated that hyperglycemia increases oxidative stress and HBP flux in endothelial cells and enhances endothelial expression of vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in response to tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) through oxidative stress rather than HBP pathway. Here we present further complementary data showing that enhancing O-GlcNAc levels by glucosamine does not mimic hyperglycemia's effect on TNFα-induced endothelial VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 expression. Glucosamine however inhibits ICAM-1 (not VCAM-1) expression and induces superoxide generation in the cells. The results further suggest that increased O-GlcNAc levels do not mediate the enhancing effect of hyperglycemia on the endothelial inflammatory responses to TNFα. In contrast, it exerts certain anti-inflammatory effects accompanied by pro-oxidative properties. Further work should delineate the exact role of HPB pathway in different aspects of cardiovascular functions, especially those of diabetic cardiovascular complications.