The major risk factor for melioidosis, an infectious disease caused by B. pseudomallei, is diabetes mellitus. More than half of diabetic melioidosis patients in Thailand were prescribed glibenclamide. Recent evidence demonstrates that glibenclamide reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine production by polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) of diabetic individuals in response to this bacterial infection. However, the mechanisms by which glibenclamide affects cytokine production are unknown. We found that PMNs from glibenclamide-treated diabetic individuals infected with live B. pseudomallei in vitro showed lower free glutathione (GSH) levels compared with those of healthy individuals. Glibenclamide decreased GSH levels and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) of PMNs after exposed to live B. pseudomallei. Moreover, glibenclamide reduced cytokine production and migration capacity of infected PMNs, whereas GSH could restore these functions. Taken together, our data show a link between the effect of glibenclamide on GSH and PMN functions in response to B. pseudomallei that may contribute to the susceptibility of diabetic individuals to B. pseudomallei infection.
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