Systemic glutathione deficiency, inflammation, and oxidative stress are hallmarks of cystic fibrosis (CF), an inherited disease that causes persistent lung infections and severe damage to the respiratory system and many of the body organs. Improvements to current antioxidant therapeutic strategies are needed. The dietary supplement, γ-glutamylcysteine (GGC), which is the immediate precursor to glutathione, rapidly boosts cellular glutathione levels following a single dose in healthy individuals. Efficacy of GGC against oxidative stress induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a common and chronic pathogen infecting lungs of CF patients, remains unassessed. Primary mucocilliary differentiated airway (bronchial and/or nasal) epithelial cells were created from four individuals with CF. Airway oxidative stress and inflammation was induced by P. aeruginosa lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Parameters including global proteomics alterations, cell redox state (glutathione, oxidative stress), pro-inflammatory mediators (IL-8, IDO-1), and cellular health (membrane integrity, stress granule formation, cell metabolic viability) were assayed under six experimental conditions: (1) Mock, (2) LPS-challenged (3) therapeutic, (4) prophylactic (5) therapeutic and prophylactic and (6) GGC alone. Proteomic analysis identified perturbation of several pathways related to cellular respiration and stress responses upon LPS challenge. Most of these were resolved when cells were treated with GGC. While GGC did not resolve LPS-induced IL-8 and IDO-1 activity, it effectively attenuated LPS-induced oxidative stress and stress granule formation, while significantly increasing total intracellular glutathione levels, metabolic viability and improving epithelial cell barrier integrity. Both therapeutic and prophylactic treatments were successful. Together, these findings indicate that GGC has therapeutic potential for treatment and prevention of oxidative stress-related damage to airways in cystic fibrosis.
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- Cystic fibrosis
- Oxidative stress
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa