Methylglyoxal, glyoxalses and cell proliferation

  • Nigel I. Hooper

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The metabolic function of the glyoxalase system was investigated in (a) the differentiation and proliferation of human tumour cells in vitro, (b) the cell-free assembly of microtubules and (c) in the red blood cells during hyperglycaemia associated with Diabetes Mellitus. Chemically-induced differentiation of human promyelocytic HL60 leukaemia cells to neutrophils, and K562 erythroleukaemia cells, was accompanied by a decrease and an increase in the activity of glyoxalase I, respectively. Growth-arrest of Burkitt's lymphoma Raji cells and GM892 lymphoblastoid cells was accompanied by an increase and a decrease in the activity of glyoxalase I respectively. However, differentiation and growth arrest generally proceeded with an increase in the activity of glyoxalase II. Glyoxalase I activity did not consistently correlate with cell differentiation or proliferation status; hence, it is unlikely that glyoxalase I activity is either an indicator or a regulator of cell differentiation or proliferation. Conversely, glyoxalase II activity consistently increased during cell differentiation and growth-arrest and may be both an indicator and regulator of cell differentiation or proliferation. This may be related to the control of cellular microtubule assembly. S-D-Lactoylglutathione potentiated the cell-free, GTP-promoted assembly of microtubules. The effect was dose-related and was inhibited by glyoxalase II. During assembly, S-D-lactoylglutathione was consumed. This suggests that the glyoxalase system, through the influence of S-D-lactoylglutathione, may regulate the assembly of microtubules in cellular systems The whole blood concentrations of methylglyoxal and S-D-lactoylglutathione were increased in Diabetes Mellitus. There was no significant difference between red blood cell glyoxalase activities in diabetics, compared to healthy controls. However, insulin-dependent diabetic patients with retinopathy had a significantly higher glyoxalase I activity and a lower glyoxalase II activity, than patients without retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy correlated with high glyoxalase I activity and low glyoxalase II activity and suggests the glyoxalase system may be involved in the development of diabetic complications.
Date of AwardOct 1987
Original languageEnglish


  • glyoxalses
  • s-d-lactoylglutathione
  • microtubules
  • differentiation
  • proliferation

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