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Biomed Pharmacother. 2014 Jul;68(6):799-807. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Glutathione and redox signaling in substance abuse.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Medical University of South Carolina, 70 President Street, DD409, Charleston, SC 29425, USA. Electronic address:
  • 2Departments of Neurosciences and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Charleston Alcohol Research Center, Medical University of South Carolina, 67 President Street, IOP462N, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.
  • 3Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 274 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Throughout the last couple decades, the cause and consequences of substance abuse has expanded to identify the underlying neurobiological signaling mechanisms associated with addictive behavior. Chronic use of drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol leads to the formation of oxidative or nitrosative stress (ROS/RNS) and changes in glutathione and redox homeostasis. Of importance, redox-sensitive post-translational modifications on cysteine residues, such as S-glutathionylation and S-nitrosylation could impact on the structure and function of addiction related signaling proteins. In this commentary, we evaluate the role of glutathione and redox signaling in cocaine-, methamphetamine- and alcohol addiction and conclude by discussing the possibility of targeting redox pathways for the therapeutic intervention of these substance abuse disorders.


Addiction; Glutathione; Glutathione-S-transferase Pi; Oxidative stress; Redox; S-glutathionylation

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