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Novel antioxidant approaches to the treatment of upper airway inflammation

Braskett, Melinda; Riedl, Marc A

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: February 2010 - Volume 10 - Issue 1 - p 34–41
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e328334f613
Upper airway disease: Edited by Ruby Pawankar and David P. Skoner

Purpose of review Current understanding of the role of oxidative stress in airway inflammation suggests that antioxidant therapy may be important to optimize the treatment. This review summarizes recent investigations of novel antioxidant agents for upper airway inflammation, with selected studies focused on lower airway disease as additional candidate therapeutics.

Recent findings Recently investigated antioxidant therapies for airway inflammation may be broadly grouped into three categories: endogenous metabolic agents, vitamins/nutrients, and botanical extracts. Studies examining effects in upper airway inflammation are limited and primarily consist of in-vitro human and in-vivo animal models. More extensive studies have investigated the benefits of antioxidants in lower airway conditions such as allergic asthma. Existing evidence identifies antioxidant agents with potential therapeutic value, although human studies suggest that subpopulations affected by specific genetic, environmental, dietary factors, or all are most likely to benefit from antioxidant therapy.

Summary Oxidative stress plays a causative role in upper airway inflammation, and novel strategies to mitigate cellular injury with antioxidant therapy may ameliorate disease in target populations. Preclinical studies demonstrate evidence of anti-inflammatory effects for a number of promising antioxidant agents. Well designed interventional human studies of the upper airway, which account for complex gene–environment–diet interactions, will be necessary to adequately examine the potential clinical benefit of antioxidant therapies for rhinosinusitis.

Section of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Correspondence to Marc A. Riedl, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, 37-131 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA Tel: +1 310 206 4345; e-mail:

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