Systemic transsulfuration pathway thiol concentrations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients

Angelo Zinellu, Elisabetta Zinellu, Elisabetta Sotgiu, Alessandro G. Fois, Panagiotis Paliogiannis, Valentina Scano, Barbara Piras, Salvatore Sotgia, Arduino A. Mangoni, Ciriaco Carru, Pietro Pirina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is amply reported that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Recent evidence suggests that COPD patients have elevated concentrations of plasma homocysteine (Hcy), a transsulfuration pathway analyte that is commonly regarded as a CVD risk factor. Design: We comprehensively investigated the plasma concentrations of transsulfuration pathway analytes, and their relationship with markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, to identify which low molecular thiols might play a pathophysiological role both in CVD and in COPD. Hcy, cysteine (Cys), glutathione (GSH), cysteinylglycine (CysGly), glutamylcysteine (GluCys), taurine (Tau), oxidative stress markers (TBARS and protein-SH, PSH) and the inflammation marker kynurenine/tryptophan (Kyn/Trp) ratio were measured in 54 COPD patients and 54 control subjects. Results: We found increased concentrations of total Hcy (P <.01) and total CysGly (P <.05) in COPD patients when compared to controls. Total Hcy and CysGly were also significantly associated with abnormal lung function parameters and COPD severity. In COPD patients, total Hcy was significantly associated with the Kyn/Trp ratio (P =.0017) whereas total CysGly was significantly associated with both PSH (P =.0298) and the Kyn/Trp ratio (P = <.0001). Conclusion: Both total Hcy and CysGly concentrations were significantly associated with the presence and severity of COPD and with markers of oxidative stress (total CysGly) and inflammation (total Hcy and CysGly). This suggests that specific low molecular mass thiols might play a role in the inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways involved in both CVD and COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13267
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • cardiovascular disease
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • cysteinylglycine
  • homocysteine
  • inflammation
  • oxidative stress


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