Author(s): Ruffmann R, Wendel A
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Abstract Reduced glutathione (GSH) is the main intracellular low molecular weight thiol. GSH acts as a nucleophilic scavenger and as an enzyme-catalyzed antioxidant in the event of electrophilic/oxidative tissue injury. Therefore, GSH has a major role as a protector of biological structures and functions. GSH depletion has been recognized as a hazardous condition during paracetamol intoxication. Conversely, GSH rescue, meaning recovery of the protective potential of GSH by early administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), has been found to be life-saving. Lack of GSH and electrophilic/oxidative injury have been identified among the causes of the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Experimental and early clinical data (in ARDS) point to the role of NAC in the treatment of these conditions. Recently, orally given NAC has been shown to enhance the levels of GSH in the liver, in plasma, and notably in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Rescue of GSH through NAC needs to be appreciated as an independent treatment modality for an array of different disease, all of which have one feature in common: pathogenetically relevant loss of GSH.
This article was published in Klin Wochenschr
and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine