NOX enzymes and pulmonary disease

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2009 Oct;11(10):2505-16. doi: 10.1089/ars.2009.2599.


The primary function of the lung is to facilitate the transfer of molecular oxygen (O(2); dioxygen) from the atmosphere to the systemic circulation. In addition to its essential role in aerobic metabolism, O(2) serves as the physiologic terminal acceptor of electron transfer catalyzed by the NADPH oxidase (NOX) family of oxidoreductases. The evolution of the lungs and circulatory systems in vertebrates was accompanied by increasing diversification of NOX family enzymes, suggesting adaptive roles for NOX-derived reactive oxygen species in normal physiology. However, this adaptation may paradoxically carry detrimental consequences in the setting of overwhelming/persistent environmental stressors, both infectious and noninfectious, and during the process of aging. Here, we review current understanding of NOX enzymes in normal lung physiology and their pathophysiologic roles in a number of pulmonary diseases, including lung infections, acute lung injury, pulmonary arterial hypertension, obstructive lung disorders, fibrotic lung disease, and lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Fibrosis / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / enzymology
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Lung Diseases / enzymology*
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / virology
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • NADPH Oxidases / genetics
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / enzymology
  • Respiratory System / metabolism


  • Isoenzymes
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • NADPH Oxidases