Oxidative stress and abnormal cholesterol metabolism in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome

Carroll E Cross, T. Forte, R. Stocker, Samuel Louie, Y. Yamamoto, B. N. Ames, B. Frei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress has been implicated in the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In this study, we determined the levels of selected antioxidants in the plasma of 25 patients with ongoing ARDS and 16 healthy control subjects. We also examined these plasmas and pulmonary edema fluid of ARDS patients for lipid hydroperoxides. Both ascorbate and ubiquinol-10 concentrations in ARDS plasma were significantly lower than in normal plasma. α-Tocopherol concentrations, when standardized to total plasma cholesterol, were not lower in ARDS patients than in normal subjects. A pattern of antioxidant levels virtually identical to that observed in ARDS plasma was obtained after in vitro incubation of healthy plasma with stimulated polymorphonuclear leukocytes: very low ascorbate, decreased ubiquinol-10, and unchanged α-tocopherol concentrations. Nanomolar concentrations of lipid hydroperoxides were found in pulmonary edema fluid of ARDS patients, but not in plasma nor in the plasma of healthy individuals, when a sensitive and selective chemiluminescence assay for hydroperoxides was used. ARDS patients also showed significant decreases in plasma levels of cholesterol esters in conjunction with discoidal high-density lipoprotein profiles, indicating a decrease in lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase activity. We conclude that ARDS is associated with oxidative stress, possibly exerted by oxidants released from activated phagocytic leukocytes, and major changes in plasma cholesterol metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-404
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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