Antioxidant responses to oxidant-mediated lung diseases.Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2002; 283(2):L246-55AJ
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are generated throughout the human body. Enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants detoxify ROS and RNS and minimize damage to biomolecules. An imbalance between the production of ROS and RNS and antioxidant capacity leads to a state of "oxidative stress" that contributes to the pathogenesis of a number of human diseases by damaging lipids, protein, and DNA. In general, lung diseases are related to inflammatory processes that generate increased ROS and RNS. The susceptibility of the lung to oxidative injury depends largely on its ability to upregulate protective ROS and RNS scavenging systems. Unfortunately, the primary intracellular antioxidants are expressed at low levels in the human lung and are not acutely induced when exposed to oxidative stresses such as cigarette smoke and hyperoxia. However, the response of extracellular antioxidant enzymes, the critical primary defense against exogenous oxidative stress, increases rapidly and in proportion to oxidative stress. In this paper, we review how antioxidants in the lung respond to oxidative stress in several lung diseases and focus on the mechanisms that upregulate extracellular glutathione peroxidase.