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The role for N-acetylcysteine in the management of COPD

Authors PNR Dekhuijzen, WJC van Beurden

Published 15 June 2006 Volume 2006:1(2) Pages 99—106


PNR Dekhuijzen1, WJC van Beurden2 1Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands; 2Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Abstract: Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of COPD. Both reactive oxidant species from inhaled cigarette smoke and those endogenously formed by inflammatory cells constitute an increased intrapulmonary oxidant burden. Structural changes to essential components of the lung are caused by oxidative stress, contributing to irreversible damage of both parenchyma and airway walls. The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor, has been applied in these patients to reduce symptoms, exacerbations, and the accelerated lung function decline. This article reviews the available experimental and clinical data on the antioxidative effects of NAC in COPD, with emphasis on the role of exhaled biomarkers.
Keywords: COPD, N-acetylcysteine, oxidative stress, inflammation, lung function, exhaled biomarkers

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