Heme oxygenase (HO-1) is a stress protein, which has been suggested to participate in defense mechanisms against glucose induced oxidative injury. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of human HO-1 in attenuating glucose-mediated oxidative stress. We investigated the effect of high ambient glucose (15, 33 and 66 mM) on HO-1 gene expression in endothelial cells grown in a serum deprived media compared to the effect of glucose on exponentially grown cells (10% FBS). High glucose at 15 and 33 mM caused significant inhibition of HO-1 protein and activity in G0 / G1 and in cells exponentially grown. Glucose concentration at 66mM caused a significant increase in HO-1. Addition of heme (10μM) increased HO-1 protein and bilirubin formation in G0 / G1, in a time dependent manner peaking at 16h. Glucose attenuated heme mediated increase in HO-1 proteins. RT-PCR demonstrated that glucose decreased the levels of HO-1 mRNA in both G0 / G1 or cells grown in 10% FBS. The rate of HO-1 induction in response to heme was several fold higher in serum-starved cells compared to cells cultured in 10% FBS. Cells exposed to high glucose for up to 24 h had a significant increase in cellular heme and potentiated heme-mediated increase in generation of superoxide anion and 8-epiisoprostane PGF2α. HO-1 gene transduction prevented glucose-mediated elevation of 8-epi-isoprostane PGF2α. These results imply that expression of HO-1 in G0 / G1 cells may be a key player in decreasing cellular heme, associated with increased generation of bilirubin, and in attenuating glucose mediated oxidative stress.
Keywords: heme oxygenase, cell cycle, oxidative stress, superoxide anion, 8-isoprostane, hyperglycemia, glucose, carbon monoxide, retrovirus
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