Endotoxemia, pentose cycle, and the oxidant/antioxidant balance in the hepatic sinusoid

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During the innate immune response, excessive release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from sequestered phagocytes and activated resident macrophages represents the predominant component of oxidative stress in the liver and other tissues. The consequence of oxidative stress is determined by the status and adaptive changes of antioxidant pathways. In this review, we present evidence that the synchronized response of hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells, the primary sites of phagocyte attachment, plays an important role in defense against phagocyte-derived ROS. An essential component of the metabolic adaptation of hepatic sinusoidal cells to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)induced oxidative stress is the stimulated expression of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), the key enzyme of the pentose cycle (hexose monophosphate shunt, HMS). All major ROS-metabolic enzymes, i.e., glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, catalase, superoxide dismutases, NADPH oxidase, and nitric oxide synthase, directly or indirectly depend on NADPH, which is produced in the HMS in these cells. The functional significance of up-regulated HMS within a particular cell type depends on the accompanying adaptive changes in ROS-metabolizing enzymes. In LPS-activated Kupffer cells, the elevated expression of glucose transporter GLUT1 and G6PD mainly serves primed production of superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, and nitric oxide. In sinusoidal endothelial cells, the LPS-induced response pattern of glucose- and ROS-metabolizing enzymes results in elevated ROS detoxifying capacity. The described studies also suggest the existence of an intercellular oxidant balance between prooxidant Kupffer cells and antioxidant endothelial cells in the hepatic micro-environment. Maintenance of the intercellular oxidant/antioxidant balance between phagocytes and endothelial cells may represent an important mechanism protecting the hepatic parenchyma against exogenous oxidative stress during the inflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


  • Endothelial cells
  • Glutathione
  • Hepatocyte
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Kupffer cells
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Liver
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Oxygen radicals
  • Rat
  • Sepsis
  • Superoxide anion


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