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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9707292, 13 pages
Research Article

Downregulation of Glutathione Biosynthesis Contributes to Oxidative Stress and Liver Dysfunction in Acute Kidney Injury

Yue Shang,1,2 Yaw L. Siow,1,3,4 Cara K. Isaak,1,3 and Karmin O1,2,3

1St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
2Department of Animal Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
3Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
4Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Received 2 June 2016; Accepted 22 August 2016

Academic Editor: Vincenzo Lionetti

Copyright © 2016 Yue Shang et al. 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.


Ischemia-reperfusion is a common cause for acute kidney injury and can lead to distant organ dysfunction. Glutathione is a major endogenous antioxidant and its depletion directly correlates to ischemia-reperfusion injury. The liver has high capacity for producing glutathione and is a key organ in modulating local and systemic redox balance. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism by which kidney ischemia-reperfusion led to glutathione depletion and oxidative stress. The left kidney of Sprague-Dawley rats was subjected to 45 min ischemia followed by 6 h reperfusion. Ischemia-reperfusion impaired kidney and liver function. This was accompanied by a decrease in glutathione levels in the liver and plasma and increased hepatic lipid peroxidation and plasma homocysteine levels. Ischemia-reperfusion caused a significant decrease in mRNA and protein levels of hepatic glutamate-cysteine ligase mediated through the inhibition of transcription factor Nrf2. Ischemia-reperfusion inhibited hepatic expression of cystathionine γ-lyase, an enzyme responsible for producing cysteine (an essential precursor for glutathione synthesis) through the transsulfuration pathway. These results suggest that inhibition of glutamate-cysteine ligase expression and downregulation of the transsulfuration pathway lead to reduced hepatic glutathione biosynthesis and elevation of plasma homocysteine levels, which, in turn, may contribute to oxidative stress and distant organ injury during renal ischemia-reperfusion.