The glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are a family of isoenzymes involved in the detoxication of a variety of electrophilic xenobiotics. The present investigation demonstrates that GST activity and the concentration of cytosolic GSTs in cerebellar cortex of Gunn rats were increased in hyperbilirubinaemic animals compared with non-jaundiced controls. Age-dependent and region-specific increases in GST isoenzymes were seen in three regions of the cerebellar cortex of jaundiced Gunn rats, whereas GST concentrations were not altered in the brainstem, thalamus/hypothalamus, cortex or liver. Cytosolic GST activity was increased 1.3-fold in the flocculus and lateral hemispheres of 20-day-old and 1.7-fold in the flocculus, lateral hemispheres and vermis of 60-day-old jaundiced (jj; homozygous) Gunn rats compared with non-jaundiced (Jj; heterozygous) Gunn rats. H.p.l.c. was used to determine the GST subunit protein concentrations in cytosolic fractions isolated from liver and brain regions of jaundiced and non-jaundiced animals. In all regions of the cerebellum from 20-day-old animals, the levels of Alpha-class GST subunits 2 (Yc1; 3.0-fold) and 8 (Yk; 2.0-fold) were increased in jaundiced rats. In 60-day-old animals, the concentrations of Alpha-class GST subunits 2 (Yc1; 5.0-fold) and 8 (Yk; 3.0-fold), Mu-class subunit 11 (Yo; 2.5-fold) and Pi-class subunit 7 (Yp; 2.0-fold) were increased in all regions of cerebellar cortex of jaundiced animals. In cerebellum of 10-, 20- and 60-day-old non-jaundiced and jaundiced Gunn rats, the flocculus had the highest concentration of Mu-class GST subunit 4 (Yb2) and vermis the lowest; hyperbilirubinaemia increased the concentration of subunit 4 (Yb2; 3- to 5-fold) in the flocculus and lateral hemispheres, but not the vermis, of 20- and 60-day-old rats. Intraperitoneal injection of sulphadimethoxine, a long-acting sulphonamide which displaces bilirubin from its albumin-binding sites and increases the bilirubin levels in tissues, further increased the already elevated concentrations of GST subunits in the lateral regions of cerebellar cortex of hyperbilirubinaemic rats. For example, the concentration of subunit 4 (Yb2) was increased 2.2-fold (compared with non-jaundiced controls) in Gunn rats injected with saline and 7.4-fold in rats injected with 100 mg of sulphadimethoxine/kg body weight. In contrast, GSTs in the vermis of jaundiced animals were not affected by sulphadimethoxine injection. Sulphadimethoxine had no effect on GST concentrations in lateral regions and vermis of heterozygous (Jj) Gunn rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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