Antioxidant responses of cortex neurons to iron loading
Brain cells have a highly active oxidative metabolism, yet they contain only low to moderate superoxide dismutase and catalase activities. Thus, their antioxidant defenses rely mainly on cellular reduced glutathione levels. In this work, in cortical neurons we characterized viability and changes in reduced and oxidized glutathione levels in response to a protocol of iron accumulation. We found that massive death occurred after 2 days in culture with 10 mM Fe. Surviving cells developed an adaptative response that included increased synthesis of GSH and the maintenance of a glutathione-based reduction potential. These results highlight the fundamental role of glutathione homeostasis in the antioxidant response and provide novel insights into the adaptative mechanisms of neurons subjected to progressive iron loads.