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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2008 Apr;10(4):727-38. doi: 10.1089/ars.2007.1942.

Oxidant-antioxidant imbalance as a potential contributor to the progression of human pulmonary fibrosis.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is the most common idiopathic interstitial pneumonia. IPF is a disease with poor prognosis and an aggressive nature, and poses major challenges to clinicians. Thus, a large part of research in the area has focused on the pathogenesis on IPF. Characteristic features in IPF include fibrotic lesions devoid of inflammatory cell infiltrates. There are experimental models of lung fibrosis (e.g., bleomycin-induced fibrosis), but they typically contain a prominent inflammatory pattern in the lung, which leads to relatively diffuse lung fibrosis. Nonetheless, experimental models have provided important information about the progression and pathways contributing to the lung fibrosis, including activation of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta). Both patient material and experimental models of lung fibrosis have displayed marked elevation of several markers of oxidant burden and signs for disturbed antioxidant/oxidant balance. Several studies also suggest that reactive oxygen species can cause activation of growth-regulatory cytokines, including TGF-beta. In addition, there are indications that endogenous and exogenous antioxidants/redox modulators can influence fibrogenesis, protect the lung against fibrosis, and prevent its progression. Factors that restore the antioxidant capacity and prevent sustained activation of growth-regulatory cytokines may have a therapeutic role in IPF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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