Elevation of glutathione as a therapeutic strategy in Alzheimer disease

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 May;1822(5):625-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Oct 12.


Oxidative stress has been associated with the onset and progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD). AD and MCI brain and plasma display extensive oxidative stress as indexed by protein oxidation, lipid peroxidation, free radical formation, DNA oxidation, and decreased antioxidants. The most abundant endogenous antioxidant, glutathione, plays a significant role in combating oxidative stress. The ratio of oxidized to reduced glutathione is utilized as a measure of intensity of oxidative stress. Antioxidants have long been considered as an approach to slow down AD progression. In this review, we focus on the elevation on glutathione through N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and γ-glutamylcysteine ethyl ester (GCEE) as a potential therapeutic approach for Alzheimer disease. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Antioxidants and Antioxidant Treatment in Disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Dipeptides / therapeutic use*
  • Glutathione / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Antioxidants
  • Dipeptides
  • DNA
  • Glutathione
  • gamma-glutamylcysteine
  • Acetylcysteine