Peripheral Arterial Disease Responds to Glutathione Infusion

Laurie Barclay, MD

August 08, 2002

Aug. 9, 2002 -- Twice-daily infusion of glutathione for five days significantly improved macrocirculatory and microcirculatory parameters in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), according to the results of a randomized, double-blind trial reported in the August issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

"Oxidative stress is considered an important condition in the atherosclerotic process, favoring cellular and vascular damage," write Enrico Arosio, MD, and colleagues from the University of Verona in Italy. "Glutathione could prevent this toxic injury, ensuring better vascular function with 'easier overcoming' of oxidative stress."

Forty subjects with Fontaine stage II PAD received intravenous glutathione or saline solution twice daily for five days. Those receiving glutathione had significant improvements in pain-free walking distance (196 ±177; 15 vs. 143 ±177; 11 m; P<.04), macrocirculatory flow after treadmill test with plethysmography, postischemic hyperemia with laser Doppler flowmetry, and reduced time to flow motion.

The authors attribute these findings to improved function of the mechanisms responsible for flow motion, including myogenic and neurogenic vasoregulation of the microcirculatory vascular bed. Glutathione "produces a better vasoregulation in response to exercise and ischemia and a partially restored microcirculatory-mediated dilation in patients with obstructive PAD, leading to the clinical effect of improving pain-free walking distance," they write.

Mayo Clinic Proc. 2002;77:754-759

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

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