Low glutathione and glutathione S-transferase levels in Barrett's esophagus as compared to normal esophageal epithelium

Esther M.M. Van Lieshout, Dorien M. Tiemessen, Ben J. M. Witteman, Jan B.M.J. Jansen, Wilbert H.M. Peters

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Patients with Barrett's esophagus, wherein squamous epithelium has been replaced by columnar epithelium, have an increased risk for developing esophageal adenocarcinoma as compared to the general population. Glutathione S-transferase (GST), a family of detoxification enzymes consisting of class α, μ, π, and θ isoforms, is involved in detoxification of carcinogens and low levels of these enzymes correlated with high cancer risk. We have now compared GST enzyme activity, GST isoenzyme composition and glutathione (GSH) content of Barrett's mucosa with that of adjacent normal squamous epithelium. Biopsy specimens of 98 patients with Barrett's esophagus were taken from both Barrett's and adjacent normal squamous epithelium. GST enzyme activity towards 1–chloro-2,4–dinitrobenzene was measured, and GST isoenzyme levels were determined by densitometrical analyses of western blots after immunodetection with monoclonal antibodies. Total GSH content was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography after conjugation with monobromobimane. Wilcoxon's signed rank test and Spearman correlation analyses were used for statistical evaluation. As compared with adjacent normal squamous epithelium, GST enzyme activity in Barrett's epithelium was reduced by 35%, and GST μ, GST π and GSH levels were reduced by 24%, 30%, and 63%, respectively. However, the minor GST α and GST θ levels were higher in Barrett's epithelium (by 625% and 33%, respectively). High levels of GSH and GSTs in general are correlated with protection against cellular or cytogenetic damage. The observed reduction in GSTs and GSH in Barrett's epithelium may therefore contribute to the increased cancer risk in this tissue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-85
JournalJapanese Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by grant 94-715 from the Dutch Cancer Society.


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