Update in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: role of antioxidant and metabolizing gene polymorphisms

Exp Lung Res. 2011 Aug;37(6):364-75. doi: 10.3109/01902148.2011.580416. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by systemic and local chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. The sources of the increased oxidative stress in COPD patients derive from the increased burden of inhaled oxidants such as cigarette smoke and other forms of particulate or gaseous air pollution and from the increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by several inflammatory, immune, and structural airways cells. There is increasing evidence that genetic factors may also contribute to the pathogenesis if COPD, particularly antioxidant genes, which may confer a susceptibility to environmental insults such as cigarette smoke and thereafter development of COPD. Consequently, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione S-transferase (GST), microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1), and cytochrome P450 (CYP) genetic polymorphisms may have an important role in COPD pathogenesis. In this review the authors summarized the most recent findings dealing with these antioxidant genes contributing to the free radical neutralization and xenobiotic enzymes playing a role in different phases of cell detoxification reactions related to the redox status imbalance in COPD, with an emphasis on their possible roles in disease progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / enzymology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / genetics*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species