Objective: Exposure of the oesophageal mucosa to gastric acid and bile acids leads to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a known risk factor for Barrett's oesophagus and progression to oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC). This study investigated the functions of glutathione peroxidase 7 (GPX7), frequently silenced in OAC, and its capacity in regulating ROS and its associated oxidative DNA damage. Design: Using in-vitro cell models, experiments were performed that included glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity, Amplex UltraRed, CM-H2DCFDA, Annexin V, 8-oxoguanine, phospho-H2A.X, quantitative real-time PCR and western blot assays. Results: Enzymatic assays demonstrated limited GPX activity of the recombinant GPX7 protein. GPX7 exhibited a strong capacity to neutralise hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) independent of glutathione. Reconstitution of GPX7 expression in immortalised Barrett's oesophagus cells, BAR-T and CP-A led to resistance to H2O2-induced oxidative stress. Following exposure to acidic bile acids cocktail (pH4), these GPX7-expressing cells demonstrated lower levels of H2O2, intracellular ROS, oxidative DNA damage and double-strand breaks, compared with controls (p<0.01). In addition, these cells demonstrated lower levels of ROS signalling, indicated by reduced phospho-JNK (Thr183/Tyr185) and phospho-p38 (Thr180/Tyr182), and demonstrated lower levels of apoptosis following the exposure to acidic bile acids or H2O2-induced oxidative stress. The knockdown of endogenous GPX7 in immortalised oesophageal squamous epithelial cells (HET1A) confirmed the protective functions of GPX7 against pH4 bile acids by showing an increase in the levels of H2O2, intracellular ROS, oxidative DNA damage, double-strand breaks, apoptosis, and ROS-dependent signalling (p<0.01). Conclusion: The dysfunction of GPX7 in oesophageal cells increases the levels of ROS and oxidative DNA damage, which are common risk factors for Barrett's oesophagus and OAC.
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