Increased oxidative stress and altered levels of nitric oxide and peroxynitrite in Tunisian patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: correlation with disease severity and airflow obstruction

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 Oct;161(1):20-31. doi: 10.1007/s12011-014-0087-4. Epub 2014 Jul 31.


This study was aimed to evaluate the oxidant-antioxidant imbalance in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Tunisians. We assessed 16 parameters related to the oxidative status that include malondialdehyde (MDA), total protein carbonyls (PCs), and advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP). We also examined the activity of glutathione peroxydase (GSH-Px), catalase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the plasma and erythrocytes. Levels of total thiols, reduced glutathione (GSH), total antioxidant status (TAS), hydrogen peroxide, ascorbic acid, iron, and protein sulfhydryls were determined using spectrophotometry. We also evaluated the level of nitric oxide (NO) and peroxynitrite in plasma from COPD patients and healthy controls. Estimation of DNA damage was determined using the comet assay. Pulmonary functional tests were performed by body plethysmography. Levels of MDA, PC, DNA damage, and AOPP were significantly increased while total thiols, GSH, and TAS were decreased in COPD patients. GSH-Px activity was higher in COPD patients while no difference was found for catalase and SOD. We also observed a lower level of NO and peroxynitrite in COPD patients. Decreased levels of peroxynitrite were found to correlate with disease progression, as well as with forced expiratory volume in 1 s/forced vital capacity among COPD patients. Multivariate analysis revealed that NO is associated with pathological pathways that help to predict patient outcome independently of the degree of airflow obstruction. These results indicate the presence of a systemic oxidative stress and highlight the importance of NO and peroxynitrite as major effectors in COPD development and airflow obstruction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advanced Oxidation Protein Products / blood
  • Aged
  • Catalase / blood
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / blood
  • Humans
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / blood*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Peroxynitrous Acid / blood*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / blood*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / genetics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Tunisia


  • Advanced Oxidation Protein Products
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Peroxynitrous Acid
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione