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Oxidants, Antioxidants, and Respiratory Tract Lining Fluids

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Respiratory tract lining fluids (RTLFs) are a heterogeneous group of substances covering the respiratory tract epithelial cells (RTECs) from nasal mucosa to alveoli. Antioxidant contained in the RTLFs can be expected to provide an initial defense against inhaled environmental toxins. The major antioxidants in RTLF include mucin, uric acid, protein (largely albumin), ascorbic acid, and reduced glutathione (GSH). RTLF antioxidants can be augmented by such processes as transudation/exudation of plasma constituents; RTEC secretory processes, including glandular mucus secretion; and cellular antioxidants derived from lysis of RTECs and of inflammatory cells. The antioxidant composition of RTLFs and their role in modulating normal and pathophysiologic RTEC functions under conditions of oxidative stress are yet to be fully characterized.

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