Advanced glycation / lipoxidation end products

Three papers on what can be expected from AGEs, beginning with a 2022 review:

“Carbonyl stress is a condition characterized by an increase in the steady-state levels of reactive carbonyl species (RCS) that leads to accumulation of their irreversible covalent adducts with biological molecules. In addition to causing damage directly, the RCS adducts advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) and advanced lipoxidation end-products (ALEs) elicit chronic inflammation through receptor-mediated mechanisms.

Endogenously formed RCS and AGEs/ALEs accumulation induced by hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and oxidative stress have been long recognized as critical factors in pathogenesis of cardiovascular, renal, and eye complications. The role of dietary glyco/lipotoxins in vascular complications is debated, as the metabolic fate of most ingested AGEs/ALEs and RCS remains unknown, and their contribution to systemic carbonyl stress is uncertain.

rcs ages ales

Plasma glucose spikes after a meal rich in readily absorbable carbohydrates, particularly in association with an unfavorable lipid composition, may promote proinflammatory and pro-oxidant responses by inducing a transient increase in RCS levels and consequent AGE formation. As protein-bound AGEs are not easily eliminated from the body, they can eventually accumulate in vascular and metabolic tissues because of repeated cycles of nutrient-induced carbonyl stress, favoring establishment of systemic low chronic inflammation.

Post-challenge glucose excursions are associated with a transient increase in circulating RCS levels, particularly in diabetic and prediabetic individuals. Diet-induced weight loss is associated with decreases in postprandial carbonyl stress in obese subjects. Data on lean and metabolically healthy individuals are limited.” “Food-Related Carbonyl Stress in Cardiometabolic and Cancer Risk Linked to Unhealthy Modern Diet”

I understand that researchers feel obligated to end papers with suggestions for future research. It’s a little irritating, though, when these are pie-in-the-sky.

People who wait for endogenous vs. exogenous AGE / ALE questions to be answered in their lifetimes are at risk for giving themselves diseases.

A second paper is a 2021 human cell study:

“Sulforaphane (SFN) found in cruciferous vegetables is a potent activator of the Nrf2 transcription factor, the master regulator of redox biology in mammalian cells. Nrf2 modulates expression of several antioxidant enzymes, such as γ-glutamylcysteine ligase (γ-GCL). This is the rate-limiting step in synthesis of the major non-enzymatic antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Silencing of Nrf2 or inhibition of GSH synthesis abolished SFN-promoted mitochondrial protection in cells exposed to methylglyoxal (MG), a pro-oxidant agent whose levels are high in several human diseases.

sfn vs mg

MG is a reactive dicarbonyl presenting both endogenous (e.g. glycolysis) and exogenous (e.g. food cooking) sources. MG induces neurotoxicity, at least in part, by affecting mitochondrial function, including a decline in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system activity, bioenergetics failure, and redox disturbances.

We found that SFN prevented MG-induced OXPHOS dysfunction and mitochondrial redox impairment. SFN protected mitochondria of MG-challenged cells by a mechanism involving the Nrf2/γ-GCL/GSH axis.” “The Isothiocyanate Sulforaphane Depends on the Nrf2/γ‑GCL/GSH Axis to Prevent Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Cells Exposed to Methylglyoxal” (not freely available)

Although this study’s 5 µM sulforaphane treatment is achievable in human plasma, that level isn’t sustainable for 24 hours as the study did in vitro. Would sulforaphane’s in vivo effects likewise prevent methylglyoxal from inducing AGEs?

A third paper is a 2022 human study:

“AGEs have been widely reported to play an important role in osteoporosis (OP). We investigated the effect of AGEs on osteoblast function and underlying mechanisms.

op lumbar vertebrae

Levels of bone mineral density (BMD), serum AGEs, and fasting blood glucose (FBG) were measured in patients with OP and healthy individuals:

  • Patients with OP had a higher level of serum AGEs and FBG compared with healthy individuals.
  • The level of serum AGEs in patients with OP was negatively correlated with BMD, but was positively correlated with FBG.
  • AGEs and serum from patients with OP markedly inhibited hFOB1.19 osteoblast cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase production, and mineralized nodule formation.
  • Apoptosis and ferroptosis were significantly promoted by AGEs and serum from patients with OP.
  • Serum from OP patients with T2DM caused stronger effect than that from OP patients with normal FBG.

Collectively, AGEs could disrupt functions of osteoblasts by inducing cell ferroptosis, thus contributing to OP.” “Advanced glycation end products promote osteoporosis by inducing ferroptosis in osteoblasts”


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