Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung
This review discusses the role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung.

Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung

January 2011
Pietro Ghezzi


Reactive oxygen species and thiol antioxidants, including glutathione (GSH), regulate innate immunity at various levels. This review outlines the redox-sensitive steps of the cellular mechanisms implicated in inflammation and host defense against infection, and describes how GSH is not only important as an antioxidant but also as a signaling molecule.

There is an extensive literature of the role of GSH in immunity. Most reviews are biased by an oversimplified picture where “bad” free radicals cause all sorts of diseases and “good” antioxidants protect from them and prevent oxidative stress. While this may be the case in certain fields (eg, toxicology), the role of thiols (the topic of this review) in immunity certainly requires wearing scientist’s goggles and being prepared to accept a more complex picture.

This review aims at describing the role of GSH in the lung in the context of immunity and inflammation. The first part summarizes the history and basic concepts of this picture.

The second part focuses on GSH metabolism/levels in pathology, the third on the role of GSH in innate immunity and inflammation, and the fourth gives 4 examples describing the importance of GSH in the response to infections.

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