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Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2001;14(6):409-20.

Reactive oxygen species as mediators in asthma.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


This review describes production and effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on airway function. ROS are important in many physiological processes but can also have detrimental effects on airway cells and tissues when produced in high quantities or during the absence of sufficient amounts of anti-oxidants. Therefore, these mediators play a prominent role in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory airway disorders, including asthma. Effects of ROS on airway function in asthma have been studied with isolated airway cells and tissues and with animal models and patients. With the use of inhibitors, transgenic animals and measurements of the release of ROS within the airways, it became clear that oxidative stress contributes to the initiation and worsening of inflammatory respiratory disorders.

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