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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2012 Jul 15;17(2):375-408. doi: 10.1089/ars.2011.4198. Epub 2012 Mar 9.

Glutathione redox control of asthma: from molecular mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA. anne.fitzpatrick@emory.edu

Abstract

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways associated with airway hyper-responsiveness and airflow limitation in response to specific triggers. Whereas inflammation is important for tissue regeneration and wound healing, the profound and sustained inflammatory response associated with asthma may result in airway remodeling that involves smooth muscle hypertrophy, epithelial goblet-cell hyperplasia, and permanent deposition of airway extracellular matrix proteins. Although the specific mechanisms responsible for asthma are still being unraveled, free radicals such as reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species are important mediators of airway tissue damage that are increased in subjects with asthma. There is also a growing body of literature implicating disturbances in oxidation/reduction (redox) reactions and impaired antioxidant defenses as a risk factor for asthma development and asthma severity. Ultimately, these redox-related perturbations result in a vicious cycle of airway inflammation and injury that is not always amenable to current asthma therapy, particularly in cases of severe asthma. This review will discuss disruptions of redox signaling and control in asthma with a focus on the thiol, glutathione, and reduced (thiol) form (GSH). First, GSH synthesis, GSH distribution, and GSH function and homeostasis are discussed. We then review the literature related to GSH redox balance in health and asthma, with an emphasis on human studies. Finally, therapeutic opportunities to restore the GSH redox balance in subjects with asthma are discussed.

PMID:
22304503
PMCID:
PMC3353819
DOI:
10.1089/ars.2011.4198
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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