Glutathione metabolism and antioxidant enzymes in patients affected by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Valerio Nobili, Anna Pastore, Laura Maria Gaeta, Giulia Tozzi, Daniela Comparcola, Maria Rita Sartorelli, Matilde Marcellini, Enrico Bertini, Fiorella Piemonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Oxidative stress and accumulation of excessive fat in the liver may underlie the pathophysiology of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Given that glutathione blood metabolism may represent an indicator of tissue oxidative status, we analysed the blood profile of various forms of glutathione in children with NASH, and we evaluated the presence of systemic oxidative stress by calculating the oxidised/reduced glutathione ratio (GSSG/GSH). Furthermore, we analysed the catalytic activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione transferase (GST), and glutathione reductase (GR) in blood of patients. Methods: Blood samples were obtained from 21 children with NASH and 28 controls. Total, reduced, oxidised, and protein-bound glutathione concentrations were determined by reversed-phase liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. Antioxidant enzymes were spectrophotometrically assayed by using specific substrates. Results: Our findings showed a 1.5-fold increase of GSSG in patients, resulting in a significant rise of the GSSG/GSH ratio. SOD, GPx, and GR activities were not significantly different in NASH respect to controls, whereas GST, which provides the second defence line against oxidative stress, was 17.8% increased. Conclusions: Our data demonstrate an impairment of glutathione metabolism and antioxidant enzyme activities in blood of patients with NASH, supporting a consistent role of free radical cytotoxicity in the pathophysiology of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
Number of pages7
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Antioxidant enzymes
  • Free radicals
  • Glutathione
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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