Treatments in Respiratory Medicine

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 47–78

Antioxidant Strategies in Respiratory Medicine

  • Melpo Christofidou-Solomidou
  • Vladimir R. Muzykantov
Review Article

DOI: 10.2165/00151829-200605010-00004

Cite this article as:
Christofidou-Solomidou, M. & Muzykantov, V.R. Treat Respir Med (2006) 5: 47. doi:10.2165/00151829-200605010-00004


Pulmonary oxidant stress plays an important pathogenetic role in disease conditions including acute lung injury/adult respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), hyperoxia, ischemia-reperfusion, sepsis, radiation injury, lung transplantation, COPD, and inflammation. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), released from activated macrophages and leukocytes or formed in the pulmonary epithelial and endothelial cells, damage the lungs and initiate cascades of pro-inflammatory reactions propagating pulmonary and systemic stress. Diverse molecules including small organic compounds (e.g. gluthatione, tocopherol (vitamin E), flavonoids) serve as natural antioxidants that reduce oxidized cellular components, decompose ROS and detoxify toxic oxidation products. Antioxidant enzymes can either facilitate these antioxidant reactions (e.g. peroxidases using glutathione as a reducing agent) or directly decompose ROS (e.g. Superoxide dismutases [SOD] and catalase). Many antioxidant agents are being tested for treatment of pulmonary oxidant stress. The administration of small antioxidants via the oral, intratracheal and vascular routes for the treatment of short- and long-term oxidant stress showed rather modest protective effects in animal and human studies. Intratracheal and intravascular administration of antioxidant enzymes are being currently tested for the treatment of acute oxidant stress. For example, intratracheal administration of recombinant human SOD is protective in premature infants exposed to hyperoxia. However, animal and human studies show that more effective delivery of drugs to cells experiencing oxidant stress is needed to improve protection. Diverse delivery systems for antioxidants including liposomes, chemical modifications (e.g. attachment of masking pegylated [PEG]-groups) and coupling to affinity carriers (e.g. antibodies against cellular adhesion molecules) are being employed and currently tested, mostly in animal and, to a limited extent, in humans, for the treatment of oxidant stress. Further studies are needed, however, in order to develop and establish effective applications of pulmonary antioxidant interventions useful in clinical practice. Although beyond the scope of this review, antioxidant gene therapies may eventually provide a strategy for the management of subacute and chronic pulmonary oxidant stress.

Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melpo Christofidou-Solomidou
    • 1
  • Vladimir R. Muzykantov
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental Medicine and Department of PharmacologyUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Institute for Environmental MedicineUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical SchoolPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental MedicineUniversity of Pennsylvania Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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