Glutathione: A Key Player in Autoimmunity
It has long been known that oxidative stress and inflammation can be drivers of autoimmune disease. A review published in Autoimmunity Reviews back in 2009 demonstrates clearly that glutathione plays a role in each of these, yet we know that glutathione and its system for recycling can become easily overwhelmed by excessive demand and low levels of substrates. This makes it a potentially important therapeutic in those with autoimmune disorders.
This review is worthy of note as it details these key mechanisms by which glutathione is important to immune processes. The effect of glutathione on the regulation of the synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules makes it a key player in the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases. This review demonstrated that in individuals with chronic inflammation or immune mediated disorders, low glutathione levels can facilitate further amplification of the inflammatory cascade and this then has a knock-on effect to perpetuate inflammation and tissue destruction. Glutathione has a dose dependent inhibitive effect on these pathways and processes and therefore supplementation may be beneficial in those with autoimmune disease.
This review also made note of the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress and therefore glutathione status. Common therapeutics to reduce inflammation (in this case NSAIDs) resulted in improved glutathione concentrations in the blood. This would indicate that any actions that reduce inflammatory processes will also reduce demands on the glutathione to quench the results of that inflammation and so higher concentrations will be available for other immune processes. Once again this highlights the importance of keeping inflammation at a minimum for those with autoimmune conditions.
1. Perricone, Carlo, Caterina De Carolis, and Roberto Perricone. "Glutathione: A key player in autoimmunity." Autoimmunity Reviews 8.8 (2009): 697-701.
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