Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 76–80 | Cite as

Scavenging of reactive oxygen species by letosteine, a molecule with two blocked -SH groups

Comparison with free -SH drugs
  • B. Gressier
  • N. Lebegue
  • C. Brunet
  • M. Luyckx
  • T. Dine
  • M. Cazin
  • J. C. Cazin


Acute production of reactive oxygen species by polymorphonuclear neutrophils during the respiratory burst may induce tissue injuries. In thisin vitro study, it was demonstrated that letosteine, a mucolytic agent containing two blocked thiol groups, had antioxidant activity, but only when it was first submitted to alkaline hydrolysis. In a cell-free system, hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorous acid and hydroxyl radical concentrations were reduced by half by letosteine concentrations of 200, 15 and 350 μol/l, respectively. The mechanism of letosteine action may be related to the -SH group liberatedin vitro by hydrolysis, which seemed to react by scavenging the reactive oxygen species in the same way as acetylcysteine and MESNA, freethiol drugs known for their antioxidant properties. So, letosteine, a compound with blocked -SH groups whichin vivo can metabolically become free, may have a therapeutic application in preventing oxidative tissue injury damage induced by the respiratory burst.


Acetylcysteine Antioxidants Free radicals Hydrolysis Letosteine Mercaptoethanesulfonate Peroxides Sulfhydryl compounds Superoxide 


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Copyright information

© Royal Dutch Association for Advancement of Pharmacy 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Gressier
    • 1
  • N. Lebegue
    • 1
  • C. Brunet
    • 1
  • M. Luyckx
    • 1
  • T. Dine
    • 1
  • M. Cazin
    • 1
  • J. C. Cazin
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculté de PharmacieLaboratoire de Pharmacologie, Pharmacocinétique et Pharmacie CliniqueLille CédexFrance

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