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Lung glutathione adaptive responses to cigarette smoke exposure

Author(s): Gould Neal | Min Elysia | Gauthier Steve | Martin Richard | Day Brian

Journal: Respiratory Research
ISSN 1465-9921

Volume: 12;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 133;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Smoking tobacco is a leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but although the majority of COPD cases can be directly related to smoking, only a quarter of smokers actually develop the disease. A potential reason for the disparity between smoking and COPD may involve an individual's ability to mount a protective adaptive response to cigarette smoke (CS). Glutathione (GSH) is highly concentrated in the lung epithelial lining fluid (ELF) and protects against many inhaled oxidants. The changes in GSH that occur with CS are not well investigated; therefore the GSH adaptive response that occurs with a commonly utilized CS exposure was examined in mice. Methods Mice were exposed to CS for 5 h after which they were rested in filtered air for up to 16 h. GSH levels were measured in the ELF, bronchoalveolar lavage cells, plasma, and tissues. GSH synthesis was assessed by measuring γ-glutamylcysteine ligase (GCL) activity in lung and liver tissue. Results GSH levels in the ELF, plasma, and liver were decreased by as much as 50% during the 5 h CS exposure period whereas the lung GSH levels were unchanged. Next, the time course of rebound in GSH levels after the CS exposure was examined. CS exposure initially decreased ELF GSH levels by 50% but within 2 h GSH levels rebound to about 3 times basal levels and peaked at 16 h with a 6-fold increase and over repeat exposures were maintained at a 3-fold elevation for up to 2 months. Similar changes were observed in tissue GCL activity which is the rate limiting step in GSH synthesis. Furthermore, elevation in ELF GSH levels was not arbitrary since the CS induced GSH adaptive response after a 3d exposure period prevented GSH levels from dropping below basal levels. Conclusions CS exposures evoke a powerful GSH adaptive response in the lung and systemically. These data suggests there may be a sensor that sets the ELF GSH adaptive response to prevent GSH levels from dipping below basal levels. Factors that disrupt GSH adaptive responses may contribute to the pathophysiology of COPD.
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