GSH and analogs in antiviral therapy

Alessandra Fraternale, Maria Filomena Paoletti, Anna Casabianca, Lucia Nencioni, Enrico Garaci, Anna Teresa Palamara, Mauro Magnani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reduced glutathione (GSH) is the most prevalent non-protein thiol in animal cells. Its de novo and salvage synthesis serves to maintain a reduced cellular environment. GSH is the most powerful intracellular antioxidant and plays a role in the detoxification of a variety of electrophilic compounds and peroxides via catalysis by glutathione-S-transferases (GST) and glutathione peroxidases (GPx). As a consequence, the ratio of reduced and oxidized glutathione (GSH:GSSG) serves as a representative marker of the antioxidative capacity of the cell. A deficiency in GSH puts the cell at risk for oxidative damage. An imbalance in GSH is observed in a wide range of pathologies, such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, cystic fibrosis (CF), several viral infections including HIV-1, as well as in aging. Several reports have provided evidence for the use of GSH and molecules able to replenish intracellular GSH levels in antiviral therapy. This non-conventional role of GSH and its analogs as antiviral drugs is discussed in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Aspects of Medicine
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Antiviral drugs
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pro-GSH molecules
  • Reduced glutathione (GSH)
  • Th1/Th2 response
  • Viral infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)


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