Red blood cells protect albumin from cigarette smoke-induced oxidation

Graziano Colombo, Ranieri Rossi, Nicoletta Gagliano, Nicola Portinaro, Marco Clerici, Andrea Annibal, Daniela Giustarini, Roberto Colombo, Aldo Milzani, Isabella Dalle-Donne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Different studies reported the presence of oxidized (carbonylated) albumin in the extravascular pool, but not in the intravascular one of cigarette smokers. In this study we attempted to explain this apparent discrepancy exposing human serum albumin (HSA) to aqueous cigarette smoke extract (CSE). CSE induces HSA carbonylation and oxidation of the HSA Cys34 sulfhydryl group. An antioxidant action of glutathione, cysteine, and its synthetic derivative N-acetylcysteine was observed only at supra-physiological concentrations, suggesting that physiological (plasma) concentrations of glutathione and cysteine in the low micromolar range are ineffective in preventing cigarette smoke-induced oxidation of HSA. Differently, human erythrocytes resulted to be protective towards CSE-induced oxidation (carbonylation and thiol oxidation) of both HSA and total human plasma proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29930
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 4 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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