Neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases and schizophrenia have been associated with a deficit in glutathione (GSH). In particular, a polymorphism in the gene of glutamate cysteine ligase modulatory subunit (GCLM) is associated with schizophrenia. GSH is the most important intracellular antioxidant and is necessary for the removal of reactive by-products generated by the utilization of glucose for energy supply. Furthermore, glucose metabolism through the pentose phosphate pathway is a major source of NADPH, the cofactor necessary for the regeneration of reduced glutathione. This study aims at investigating glucose metabolism in cultured astrocytes from GCLM knockout mice, which show decreased GSH levels. No difference in the basal metabolism of glucose was observed between wild-type and knockout cells. In contrast, glycogen levels were lower and its turnover was higher in knockout astrocytes. These changes were accompanied by a decrease in the expression of the genes involved in its synthesis and degradation, including the protein targeting to glycogen. During an oxidative challenge induced by tert-Butylhydroperoxide, wild-type cells increased their glycogen mobilization and glucose uptake. However, knockout astrocytes were unable to mobilize glycogen following the same stress and they could increase their glucose utilization only following a major oxidative insult. Altogether, these results show that glucose metabolism and glycogen utilization are dysregulated in astrocytes showing a chronic deficit in GSH, suggesting that alterations of a fundamental aspect of brain energy metabolism is caused by GSH deficit and may therefore be relevant to metabolic dysfunctions observed in schizophrenia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)