α-Lipoic acid protects against microcystin-LR induced hepatotoxicity through regeneration of glutathione via activation of Nrf2.
Environ Toxicol. 2020 Jul ;35(7):738-746. Epub 2020 Feb 15. PMID: 32061150
Microcystins (MCs), as the most dominant bloom-forming strains in eutrophic surface water, can induce hepatotoxicity by oxidative stress. Alpha-lipoic acid (α-LA) is a super antioxidant that can induce the synthesis of antioxidants, such as glutathione (GSH), by nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). However, the potential molecular mechanism of α-LA regeneration of GSH remains unclear. The present study aimed to investigate whether α-LAcould reduce the toxicity of MCs induced in human hepatoma (HepG2), Bel7420 cells, and BALB/c mice by activating Nrf2 to regenerate GSH. Results showed that exposure to 10 μM microcystin-leucine arginine (MC-LR) reduced viability of HepG2 and Bel7402 cells and promoted the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) compared with untreated cells. Moreover, the protection of α-LA included reducing the level of ROS, increasing superoxide dismutase activity, and decreasing malondialdehyde. Levels of reduced glutathione (rGSH) and rGSH/oxidized glutathione were significantly increased in cells cotreated with α-LA and MC-LR compared to those treated with MC-LR alone, indicating an ability of α-LA to attenuate oxidative stress and MC-LR-induced cytotoxicity by increasing the amount of rGSH. α-LA can mediate GSH regeneration through the Nrf2 pathway under the action of glutathione reductase in MC-LR cell lines. Furthermore, the data also showed that α-LA-induced cytoprotection against MC-LR is associated with Nrf2 mediate pathway in vivo. These findings demonstrated the potential of α-LA to resist MC-LR-induced oxidative damage of liver.