Strychnine and glycine protect renal proximal tubules from various nephrotoxicants and act in the late phase of necrotic cell injury

Gary W. Miller, Edward A. Lock, Rick G. Schnellmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that strychnine mimics the cytoprotective properties of glycine in renal proximal tubule (RPT) suspensions exposed to antimycin A (AA). The aims of this study were to determine whether the cytoprotective properties of strychnine applied to various types of nephrotoxicants and to examine the temporal aspects of the cytoprotection of glycine and strychnine. Tubular release of LDH activity was used as a marker of cell death. Glycine (2 mM) or strychnine (l mM) added 5 min prior to the toxicant decreased LDH release in rabbit RPT suspensions exposed to 25 μM tetrafluoroethyl-L-cysteine (TFEC), 10 μM HgCl2, 0.5 mM t-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP), or 0.2 mM bromohydroquinone (BHQ) for 4 hr, or 2 mM sodium cyanide (NaCN) for 2 hr. The relative rank order of effectiveness of glycine and strychnine was NaCN = TFEC > BHQ > DCVC >> TBHP > HgCl2. The temporal aspects of strychnine and glycine protection were examined by exposing RPT to either AA or TFEC for 1 or 3 hr, respectively, and then adding either 1 mM glycine or 1 mM strychnine. Glycine and strychnine decreased LDH release in AA-treated RPT at 1.25 and 2 hr and TFEC-treated RPT at 4 hr. In addition, when RPT exposed to AA or TFEC and treated with strychnine or glycine were washed at either 1 or 4 hr, protection was eliminated at later time points. When glycine was added to RPT treated with either PCBC, TFEC, or DCVC 5 min prior to or 30, 60, 120, and 180 min following toxicant addition, LDH release was reduced at all time points. These results demonstrate that strychnine and glycine protect RPT from a variety of diverse nephrotoxicants, strychnine and glycine do not need to be present at the time of toxic insult, strychnine and glycine cytoprotection is reversible, and strychnine and glycine act in the late phase of necrotic cell injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-197
Number of pages6
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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