Oxidative stress in allergic respiratory diseases

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002 Sep;110(3):349-56. doi: 10.1067/mai.2002.126780.


There is ample evidence that allergic disorders, such as asthma, rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis, are mediated by oxidative stress. Excessive exposure to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species is the hallmark of oxidative stress and leads to damage of proteins, lipids, and DNA. Oxidative stress occurs not only as a result of inflammation but also from environmental exposure to air pollution and cigarette smoke. The specific localization of antioxidant enzymes in the lung and the rapid reaction of nitric oxide with reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide, suggest that antioxidant enzymes might also function as cell-signaling agents or regulators of cell signaling. Therapeutic interventions that decrease exposure to environmental reactive oxygen species or augment endogenous antioxidant defenses might be beneficial as adjunctive therapies for allergic respiratory disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung / enzymology
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / analysis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / etiology
  • Skin Diseases / etiology
  • Skin Diseases / immunology
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxide Dismutase