Role of thioredoxin in lung disease

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Apr;25(2):154-62. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2012.01.002. Epub 2012 Jan 25.


Thioredoxin system is a ubiquitous thiol oxidoreductase system that regulates cellular reduction/oxidation (redox) status. It includes thioredoxin (Trx), thioredoxin reductase (TrxR), and NADPH. Trx plays an essential role in cell function by limiting oxidative stress directly via antioxidant effects and indirectly by proteins interaction with key signal transduction molecules. A variety of signaling molecules have been implicated in the cytoprotection conferred by Trx, such as autophagic proteins, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, nuclear factor-κB, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Recent studies indicated that Trx may contribute to the pathogenesis of COPD, asthma and lung injury. Enhanced Trx expression or application of recombinant Trx afforded protection in preclinical models of pulmonary tissue injury, which suggested Trx may be used in future therapeutic applications. The focus of this review is on the significance of Trx in various pulmonary diseases, which as a potential therapeutic strategy to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology*
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Signal Transduction
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase / metabolism*
  • Thioredoxins / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Thioredoxins
  • NADP
  • Thioredoxin-Disulfide Reductase