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Inflammation. 2005 Feb;29(1):23-32.

Increased oxidative stress and altered levels of antioxidants in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Department of Cardiorespiratory Physiology, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India.


An imbalance between oxidative stress and antioxidative capacity has been proposed to play an important role in the development and progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We carried out a study to assess the systemic oxidant-antioxidant status in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and relate it to the severity of disease. We measured a wide range of parameters of oxidant-antioxidant balance in leukocytes, plasma and red cells of 82 patients with COPD and 22 healthy non-smoking controls (HNC). Lung function was measured by spirometry. Staging of COPD was done as per the recommended guidelines. Red cell antioxidative enzyme activities were altered, with glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) having lower, superoxide dismutase (SOD) having greater and catalase having similar activity in patients as compared to HNC. In plasma, ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) and total protein sulfhydryls were lower and GSH-Px, lipid peroxides measured as MDA-TBA products, and protein carbonyls were higher in the patients as compared to HNC. Plasma total nitrates and nitrites (NO(x)) were similar in the two groups. Superoxide anion (O(2) (*-)) release from leukocytes upon stimulation with N-formyl-L-methionyl-L-leucyl-L-phenylalanine (fMLP) and total blood glutathione were also higher in patients as compared to HNC. Plasma FRAP had a positive whereas total blood glutathione had a significant negative correlation with the severity of airways obstruction (FEV(1)% predicted). Further, comparisons between clinical stages of severity of COPD revealed significant differences in plasma FRAP and total blood glutathione. Our observations suggest there is a systemic oxidant-antioxidant imbalance in the patients with COPD.

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