Identification of glutathione modifications by cigarette smoke

Sharanya Reddy, Erik I. Finkelstein, Patrick S Y Wong, Anh Phung, Carroll E Cross, Albert Van Der Vliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Although it has been recognized for decades that cigarette smoke (CS) is toxic to respiratory tract tissues, and that glutathione (GSH) and other thiols are able to ameliorate some of the adverse effects of CS, the precise interactions between thiols and critical CS components are only partially characterized. In the present study, we used HPLC and MALDI-MS approaches to more rigorously characterize the products of CS reactions with GSH, the major cellular thiol and an important antioxidant constituent in respiratory tract lining fluids, in an attempt to increase our understanding of mechanisms of CS respiratory tract toxicity. Exposure of solutions of GSH to gas phase CS resulted in its rapid depletion, and about 50% of this depletion could be accounted for by reaction with acrolein and crotonaldehyde, the two major α, β-unsaturated aldehydes in CS. Similar aldehyde adducts with GSH could also be detected in cells exposed to CS, although the relative yields were limited, presumably because of further reactions of these adducts and/or their excretion. Further characterization of in vivo thiol-aldehyde formation in respiratory tract cells can be expected to provide significant insights into the mechanisms of CS toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1490-1498
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Acrolein
  • Aldehydes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Free radicals
  • Glutathione
  • Oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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