European journal of pharmacology

Induction of aminolevulinic acid synthase gene expression and enhancement of metabolite, protoporphyrin IX, excretion by organic germanium.

PMID 21167148


Poly-trans-[(2-carboxyethyl) germasesquioxane], Ge-132 is a water-soluble organic germanium compound. Oral intake of dietary Ge-132 changes fecal color and we attempted to identify the fecal red pigment, which increased by the intake of dietary Ge-132. Sprague Dawley rats were given diets containing Ge-132 from 0 to 0.5% concentration. Fecal red pigment was extracted and purified for optical and structural studies. We examined the fecal red pigment content by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and hepatic gene expressions relating to heme synthesis by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The purified red pigment had particular optical characteristics on the ultraviolet (UV)-visible spectrum (Soret band absorbance at 400 nm) and fluorescence emission at 600 nm by 400 nm excitation, and was identified as protoporphyrin IX by LC-MS analysis. Protoporphyrin IX significantly (P<0.05) increased 2.4-fold in the feces by the intake of a 0.5% Ge-132 diet. Gene expression analysis of the liver explained the increase of protoporphyrin IX by dietary Ge-132 as it enhanced (P<0.05) aminolevulinic acid synthase 1 (Alas1), a rate-limiting enzyme of heme synthesis, expression 1.8-fold, but decreased ferrochelatase (Fech) expression 0.6-fold (P<0.05). The results show that the intake of dietary Ge-132 is related to heme metabolism. Because protoporphyrin IX is used to treat chronic hepatitis, Ge-132 may be a beneficial substance to increase protoporphyrin IX in the liver.

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Bis(2-carboxyethylgermanium(IV) sesquioxide), 99%