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Journal of Amino Acids
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 736837, 26 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/736837
Review Article

Glutathione Homeostasis and Functions: Potential Targets for Medical Interventions

Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vassyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, 57 Shevchenko Street, Ivano-Frankivsk 76025, Ukraine

Received 28 January 2011; Revised 30 August 2011; Accepted 24 October 2011

Academic Editor: Arthur J. L. Cooper

Copyright © 2012 Volodymyr I. Lushchak. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide, which has many biological roles including protection against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. The primary goal of this paper is to characterize the principal mechanisms of the protective role of GSH against reactive species and electrophiles. The ancillary goals are to provide up-to-date knowledge of GSH biosynthesis, hydrolysis, and utilization; intracellular compartmentalization and interorgan transfer; elimination of endogenously produced toxicants; involvement in metal homeostasis; glutathione-related enzymes and their regulation; glutathionylation of sulfhydryls. Individual sections are devoted to the relationships between GSH homeostasis and pathologies as well as to developed research tools and pharmacological approaches to manipulating GSH levels. Special attention is paid to compounds mainly of a natural origin (phytochemicals) which affect GSH-related processes. The paper provides starting points for development of novel tools and provides a hypothesis for investigation of the physiology and biochemistry of glutathione with a focus on human and animal health.