Xanthine oxidase inhibition reduces reactive nitrogen species production in COPD airways

Masakazu Ichinose, H. Sugiura, S. Yamagata, A. Koarai, M. Tomaki, H. Ogawa, Y. Komaki, P. J. Barnes, K. Shirato, T. Hattori

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Reactive nitrogen species (RNS) have been reported to be involved in the inflammatory process in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, there are no studies on the modulation of RNS in COPD. It was hypothesised that inhibition of xanthine oxidase (XO) might decrease RNS production in COPD airways through the suppression of superoxide anion production. Ten COPD and six healthy subjects participated in the study. The XO inhibitor allopurinol (300 mg·day-1 p.o. for 4 weeks) was administered to COPD patients. RNS production in the airway was assessed by 3-nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity and enzymic activity of XO in induced sputum as well as by exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) concentration. XO activity in the airway was significantly elevated in COPD compared with healthy subjects. Allopurinol administration to COPD subjects significantly decreased XO activity and nitrotyrosine formation. In contrast, eNO concentration was significantly increased by allopurinol administration. These results suggest that oral administration of the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol reduces airway reactive nitrogen species production in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease subjects. This intervention may be useful in the future management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-461
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Sept 1


  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Exhaled nitric oxide
  • Nitrotyrosine


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