Protein vicinal thiol oxidations in the healthy brain: Not so radical links between physiological oxidative stress and neural cell activities

Timothy D. Foley, Kristen M. Cantarella, Paul F. Gillespie, Edward S. Stredny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Reversible oxidations of protein thiols have emerged as alternatives to free radical-mediated oxidative damage with which to consider the impacts of oxidative stress on cellular activities but the scope and pathways of such oxidations in tissues, including the brain, have yet to be fully defined. We report here a characterization of reversible oxidations of glutathione and protein thiols in extracts from rat brains, from two sources, which had been (1) frozen quickly after euthanasia to preserve in vivo redox states and (2) subjected to alkylation upon tissue disruption to trap reduced thiols. Brains were defined, relatively, as Reduced and Moderately Oxidized based on measured ratios of reduced (GSH) to oxidized (GSSG) glutathione. Levels of protein disulfides formed by the cross-linking of closely-spaced (vicinal) protein thiols, but not protein S-glutathionylation, were higher in extracts from the Moderately Oxidized brains compared to the Reduced brains. Moreover, the oxidized vicinal thiol proteome contains proteins that impact cellular energetics, signaling, neurotransmission, and cytoskeletal dynamics among others. These findings argue that kinetically-competent pathways for reversible, two-electron oxidations, of protein vicinal thiols can be activated in healthy brains in response to physiological oxidative stresses. We propose that such oxidations may link oxidative stress to adaptive, but also potentially deleterious, changes in neural cell activities in otherwise healthy brains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2030-2039
Number of pages10
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 4 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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