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Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 355–368 | Cite as

Effects of low-level lead on glycolytic enzymes and pyruvate dehydrogenase of rat brain in vitro: relevance to sporadic Alzheimer's disease?

  • S. W. Yun
  • S. Hoyer

Summary.

Lead is known to be a potent inhibitor of many enzymes working in the brain, thus possibly inducing functional problems in the brain under pathophysiological conditions. Among such enzymes are those involved in glucose metabolism and energy production. We investigated the inhibitory effects of low-level lead on brain hexokinase (HK), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), pyruvate kinase (PK) and pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDHc) with rat brain homogenate. PDHc was distinctively inhibited when low-dose lead acetate was added last of all (IC50 = 5 μM) to the reaction mixture. The other enzymes were completely resistant to 5 μM of lead acetate. When the homogenate was preincubated with lead acetate HK was dramatically inhibited by low-level lead acetate (1–5 μM), in a manner dependent on both preincubation time and lead concentration. However, the inhibitory effect was abolished by coincubation with its substrates, glucose or ATP. The results suggest that exposure to low levels of lead may increase the risk of cerebral hypometabolism caused by direct inhibition of specific glucose-utilizing enzymes. In this context, lead might be regarded as a risk factor in the abnormal glucose metabolism seen in some kinds of neurodegenerative disorders such as sporadic Alzheimer's disease.

Keywords: Lead, brain glucose metabolism, hexokinase, pyruvate dehydrogenase, Alzheimer's disease. 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. W. Yun
    • 1
  • S. Hoyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathochemistry and General Neurochemistry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Federal Republic of GermanyDE

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