, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 651-658

Glutathione in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from smokers is related to humoral markers of inflammatory cell activity

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Cigarette smoking results in variable degrees of inflammation in the lower respiratory tract. Furthermore, smoking produces oxidant-mediated changes in the lung, important to the pathogenesis of emphysema. Since glutathione can neutralize reactive oxygen species and prevent peroxidation of unsaturated lipids, it may constitute an important component of the lung's defense against oxidant and inflammatory injury. In the present study, broncholaveolar lavage (BAL) was performed in 27 smokers, and the concentrations of total glutathione as well as the cellular and humoral markers of inflammatory activity were studied. There were significant correlations between total glutathione and neutrophils; two neutrophil granule components, myeloperoxidase and elastase; and chemotactic activity for neutrophils. Moreover, the total glutathione correlated with the eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), a granule constituent of the eosinophil, with two locally produced antiproteases, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (SLPI) and antichymotrypsin (ACHY), but not with an α1-protease inhibitor and albumin. These data suggest that the total glutathione levels in BAL fluid may reflect a degree of oxidative and inflammatory stress caused by cigarette smoke, and they are therefore likely to contribute to the protection against this stress.