Glyceraldehyde induces changes in the flux of glucose oxidised through the hexose monophosphate pathway, the concentrations of intermediates in the Embden-Meyerhoff pathway, the oxidative status of haemoglobin and levels of reduced and oxidised pyridine nucleotides and glutathione in red cells. Glyceraldehyde autoxidises in the cellular incubations, consuming oxygen and producing glyoxalase I- and II-reactive materials. Major fates of glyceraldehyde in red cells appear to be: (i) adduct formation with reduced glutathione and cellular protein; (ii) autoxidation and reaction with oxyhaemoglobin and pyridine nucleotides, and (iii) phosphorylation of d-glyceraldehyde and entry into the glycolytic pathway as glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. The production of glycerol from glyceraldehyde by red cell l-hexonate dehydrogenase appears not to be a major reaction of glyceraldehyde in red cells. These results indicate that high concentrations of glyceraldehyde (1-50 mM) may induce oxidative stress in red cells by virtue of the spontaneous autoxidation of glyceraldehyde, forming hydrogen peroxide and α-ketoaldehydes (glyoxalase substrates). The implications of glyceraldehyde-induced oxidative stress for the in vitro anti-sickling effect of dl-glyceraldehyde and for the polyol pathway metabolism of glyceraldehyde are discussed. © 1984.
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