Amino Acids

, Volume 50, Issue 7, pp 909–921 | Cite as

l-Cysteine in vitro can restore cellular glutathione and inhibits the expression of cell adhesion molecules in G6PD-deficient monocytes

  • Rajesh Parsanathan
  • Sushil K. Jain
Original Article


l-Cysteine is a precursor of glutathione (GSH), a potent physiological antioxidant. Excess glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency in African Americans and low levels of l-cysteine diet in Hispanics can contributes to GSH deficiency and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and monocyte adhesion was considered to be an initial event in the progression of vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis. However, no previous study has investigated the contribution of GSH/G6PD deficiency to the expression of monocyte adhesion molecules. Using human U937 monocytes, this study examined the effect of GSH/G6PD deficiency and l-cysteine supplementation on monocyte adhesion molecules. G6PD/GSH deficiency induced by either siRNA or inhibitors (6AN/BSO, respectively) significantly (p < 0.005) increased the levels of cell adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, SELL, ITGB1 and 2); NADPH oxidase (NOX), reactive oxygen species (ROS) and MCP-1 were upregulated, and decreases in levels of GSH, and nitric oxide were observed. The expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 mRNA levels increased in high glucose, MCP-1 or TNF-α-treated G6PD-deficient compared to G6PD-normal cells. l-Cysteine treatment significantly (p < 0.005) increased G6PD activity and levels of GSH, and decreased NOX, ROS, and adhesion molecules. Thus, GSH/G6PD deficiency increases susceptibility to monocyte adhesion processes, whereas l-cysteine supplementation can restore cellular GSH/G6PD and attenuates NOX activity and expression of cell adhesion molecules.


Monocytes Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency Cell adhesion molecules Oxidative stress Glutathione l-Cysteine 





African American


Bicinchoninic acid


Buthionine sulfoximine


Cell adhesion molecules


Chemokine (C–C motif) ligand 2


Cardiovascular disease


Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase


Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase


Glutamate–cysteine ligase catalytic subunit


Glutamate–cysteine ligase modifier subunit




Glutathione synthetase


High glucose


Intercellular adhesion molecule 1


Integrin subunit beta




Monocyte chemoattractant protein 1


Nitric oxide


NADPH oxidase


Reactive oxygen species


Selectin L


Short interference RNA


Solute carrier family 7 member


Tumor necrosis factor-α


Vascular cell adhesion protein 1



The authors are supported by grants from the Malcolm W. Feist Cardiovascular Research Fellowship to Rajesh Parsanathan and Endowed Chair in Diabetes to Sushil K. Jain from the Center for Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences (CCDS), LSUHSC, Shreveport. We also thank the Research Core Facility at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport for generation of the gene expression data. Ms. Paula Polk kindly assisted with the 384-well block installation in the Applied Biosystems 7900HT Fast Real-Time PCR System. The authors thank Ms. Georgia Morgan for excellent editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

All authors listed have contributed to the conception, design, gathering, analysis or interpretation of data and have contributed to the writing and intellectual content of the article. All authors gave informed consent to the submission of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics and Center for Cardiovascular Diseases and SciencesLouisiana State University Health Sciences Center-ShreveportShreveportUSA

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