Astrocytes have a pivotal role in brain as partners of neurons in homeostatic and metabolic processes. Astrocytes also protect other types of brain cells against the toxicity of reactive oxygen species and are considered as first line of defence against the toxic potential of xenobiotics. A key component in many of the astrocytic detoxification processes is the tripeptide glutathione (GSH) which serves as electron donor in the GSH peroxidase-catalyzed reduction of peroxides. In addition, GSH is substrate in the detoxification of xenobiotics and endogenous compounds by GSH-S-transferases which generate GSH conjugates that are efficiently exported from the cells by multidrug resistance proteins. Moreover, GSH reacts with the reactive endogenous carbonyls methylglyoxal and formaldehyde to intermediates which are substrates of detoxifying enzymes. In this article we will review the current knowledge on the GSH metabolism of astrocytes with a special emphasis on GSH-dependent detoxification processes.
Neurochemical Research, 2015, Vol 40, Issue 12, p. 2570-82