Role of oxidants/antioxidants in smoking-induced lung diseases

Irfan Rahman, Bill Macnee

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

An imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants has been considered in the pathogenesis of smoking-induced lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), particularly emphysema. Recent evidence indicates that increased neutrophil sequestration and activation occurs in the pulmonary microvasculature in smokers and in patients with COPD, with the potential to release reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS generated by airspace phagocytes or inhaled directly from the environment also increase the oxidant burden and may contribute to the epithelial damage. Although much research has focused on the protease/antiprotease theory of the pathogenesis of emphysema, less attention has been paid to the role of ROS in this condition. The injurious effects of the increased oxidant burden in smokers and in patients with COPD are opposed by the lung antioxidant defences. Hence, determining the mechanisms regulating the antioxidant responses is critical to our understanding of the role of oxidants in the pathogenesis of smoking-induced lung disease and to devising future strategies for antioxidant therapy. In this article we have reviewed the evidence for the presence of an oxidant/antioxidant imbalance in smoking-induced lung disease and its relevance to therapy in these conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-81
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • oxidants
  • Antioxidants
  • Neutrophils
  • Airway epithelium
  • Free radicals
  • Smoking
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


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