Sample Medical Sciences Essay Summary on Glutathione Metabolism for Endogenous and Exogenous Compound

Glutathione Metabolism for Endogenous and Exogenous Compound

Glutathione is a peptide composed of strings of amino acids found in the body. The peptide plays important roles in the body. The different functions of glutathione include: transduction of signals in the brain, acts as a redox buffer and also as a cofactor for electrophile and antioxidant defenses. In Case glutathione is deregulated and / or degenerated in the body, various neurodegenerative diseases can result. One of the ways through which the peptide can be deregulated is via homeostasis.

The neurodegenerative diseases include Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease among others (Danyelle et al., 2003). The paper focuses on the contribution of glutathione to the body’s biochemistry, how it results in neurodegenerative diseases and how its degeneration and deregulation can be prevented to avoid infections with these diseases. The amino acids which compose glutathione include cystein, glutamic ac id and Glycine. Glutathione is thus described as an anti-oxidant, a property brought about by the presence of Sulfur with an electron referred to as Thiol. The absence of glutathione can therefore result in the storage of heavy metals and other toxic substances in the body.

Synthesis of glutathione is an intracellular process that produces the peptide in concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 10 mM depending on the type of cell. The rate of synthesis is dependent on factors such as the availability of Cystein and the level of enzyme activity in the cells. The activity of enzymes is also linked to various mechanisms. Environmental factors may also play an important role in the synthesis of Glutathione through regulation of the amount of the peptide formed. During synthesis, the process has to involve protective reactions to prevent the eliminated materials from getting back into body cells.

Exogenous compounds removed from bodies of living things balance between the antioxidation and oxidation of living cells. Anti oxidants are present in very small quantities and function to prevent damages that may result from oxidation that may occur due to the presence of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species in the body. Vitamin C and E and carotenoids are some of the known exogenous compounds. On the other hand, some antioxidants catalase and glutathione peroxidase are also known.

The interactions between the exogenous compounds and the antioxidants results in the balance of homeostasis. Although some of the exogenous compounds are created within the body, the human body does not synthesize any anti-oxidants naturally. This means that foods rich in anti-oxidants such as onions can help. Glutathione reacts with both endogenous and exogenous compounds to result in the production of genotixic and cytotoxic compounds which help in detoxification.

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) result from chronic over consumption of oxygen which causes the formation of various destructive free radicals (Benoit and Michel, 2007). Glutathione helps to prevent destruction by the free radicals produced by ROS. While the free radicals have detrimental effect on the human body cells, the ROS themselves have a positive impact in that they can result in the induction of host defense. A combination of this advantage with the positive impacts of glutathione helps to improve cellular actions.

Apart from this, glutathione can also help to reduce the vulnerability to cardio vascular diseases through detoxification of ROS and RNS. These species can result in hearing impairment and other health impacts such as cardiovascular diseases. The impacts of the ROS and RNS are also diverse in plants. However, glutathione also has the potential of improving host defense. Environmental factors can however initiate and modify the enzymes that are dependent on glutathione for the prevention for the neurodegenerative diseases (Nicolas et al., 2006).


Benoît, D & Michel, B. T 2007, ROS as Signaling Molecules: Mechanisms that Generate Specificity in ROS Homeostasis, Nature Reviews: Molecular Cell Biology, 8(1): 813-824.

Danyelle, M. T., Kenneth, D. T & Haim, T 2003, The Importance of Glutathione in Human Disease, Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy Review. 57(1): 145–155.

Nicolas, P., Chiara, P., Karine, M., Gilles, I., Alexandre, J., Emmanuel, B., Didier, H., Pierre, F & Alain, P 2006, Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species and Glutathione: Key Players in the Legume–Rhizobium Symbiosis, Journal of Experimental Botany, (57)8: 1769–1776.

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