Glutathione derivatives in immunotherapy.
Reduced glutathione (GSH) is the most prevalent non-protein thiol in animal cells. Altered intracellular GSH levels are observed in a wide range of pathologies, including several viral infections, as well as in aging, all of which are also characterized by an unbalanced Th1/Th2 immune response. A central role in influencing the immune response has been ascribed to GSH. GSH has been shown to inhibit the replication/survival of several pathogens, i.e. viruses and bacteria. Its de novo and salvage synthesis serves to maintain a reduced cellular environment, which is important for several cellular functions. Hence, molecules able to increase GSH levels have been proposed as new tools to more effectively hinder different pathogens by acting as both immunomodulators and antimicrobials.