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Posted by Chris on December 13th, 2012  ⟩  0 comments

Previously, we started discussing the function of various reducing agents. There are a number of reducing agents that are available at Gold Bio: DTT (dithiothreitol), DTE (dithioerythritol), L-glutathione (GSH) and TCEP (Tris (2-Carboxyethyl) phosphine hydrochloride). By definition, reducing agents are elements or compounds that donate an electron to an oxidizer compound. Today is all about GSH (Glutathione).

L- Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide molecule that can also act as an antioxidant. Biologically, GSH reduces the disulfide bonds formed within cytoplasmic proteins to cysteines and reacts to other oxidized GSH to an oxidized form of glutathione disulfide (GSSG), also called L(-)-glutathione. It is oxidized by glutathione reductase by using NADPH as an electron donor. In plants, GSH is an important compound for both biotic and abiotic stress management and is required for defense against some types of plant pathogens. In animals, GSH is utilized in nearly every single metabolic and biochemical system in the body, including DNA synthesis/repair, protein synthesis and amino acid transport, critically affecting the immune system, nervous system, gastrointestinal system and lungs! It is important in the regulation of the nitric oxide cycle and in leukotriene synthesis.

That’s a lot of function already! But recently, research in medicinal science has pointed at GSH for a strong candidate to deliver targeted and timed drug release in anti-cancer treatment. Yaun-Jia Pan, et al., released a study in Biomaterials earlier this year detailing a reliable method of preparing GSH-linked nanohydrogels that can be triggered to release cancer drugs at specific tumor sites by the pH change between normal and tumor tissue and the high GSH-GSSG concentration around the tumor tissue. Their method improves the reliability of the nanohydrogel preparation, which in turn will increase the efficacy of this new field of anti-cancer treatment! Meanwhile in plants research, Tongbing Su, et al., has found that GSH or GSH conjugate may be the integral ingredient in camalexin biosynthesis, the main form of antimicrobial phytoalexins in Arabidopsis plants. And then there is all the continuing work utilizing GSH in a myriad of nanoparticle technology, from engineering graphene nanomaterials to capping fluorescent quantum dots. Glutathione is clearly one of the most amazing and versatile reducing agents in research today!


Pan, Yuan-Jia, et al. "Redox/pH dual stimuli-responsive biodegradable nanohydrogels with varying responses to dithiothreitol and glutathione for controlled drug release." Biomaterials (2012).

Su, Tongbing, et al. "Glutathione-indole-3-acetonitrile is required for camalexin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana." The Plant Cell Online 23.1 (2011): 364-380.

Pham, Tuan Anh, et al. "One-step reduction of graphene oxide with l-glutathione." Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 384.1 (2011): 543-548.

Zhao, Xiaomei, et al. "Fabrication of Glutathione Photoelectrochemical Biosensor Using Graphene-CdS Nanocomposites." Analyst (2012).

Wang, Xianxiang, Yi Lv, and Xiandeng Hou. "A potential visual fluorescence probe for ultratrace arsenic (III) detection by using glutathione-capped CdTe quantum dots." Talanta 84.2 (2011): 382-386.

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