An Update on Glutathione's Biosynthesis, Metabolism, Functions, and Medicinal Purposes

Curr Med Chem. 2023 Oct 26. doi: 10.2174/0109298673251025230919105818. Online ahead of print.


Glutathione (GSH) has been the focus of increased scientific interest in the last decades. It plays a crucial role in all major physiological processes by supplying antioxidant defenses through participating in cellular redox reactions in the human body and other living organisms. GSH also participates in detoxifying xenobiotics, protecting protein thiols from crosslinking and oxidation, regulating the cell cycle, storing cysteine, etc. The significant role of GSH in the most important physiological processes has been highlighted, such as maintaining the redox balance and reducing oxidative stress due to its ability to inactivate the reactive oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur species. It can also enhance metabolic detoxification and regulate the function of the immune system. All of these characteristics make it a universal biomarker since its proper balance is essential for improving health and treating some age-related disorders. This review presents a current concept of the synthesis and metabolism of GSH; its main functions in a living organism, and as a precursor and cofactor; data on the use of GSH for medicinal purposes in the prevention and treatment of some diseases, as well as a nutritional strategy to maintain a normal pool of GSH in the body. The data were gathered by searching relevant information in multiple databases, such as PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar.

Keywords: antioxidant; biosynthesis; detoxificant; dietary supplement; disorders; functions; glutathione; health; metabolism.