Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, say their finding has implications for such inflammation-based disorders as cystic fibrosis (CF), diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegeneration.
Through cell-culture studies and a synthesis of known antioxidant biochemistry, Zhe Lu, Professor of Physiology, Yanping Xu, Senior Research Investigator, and Szilvia Szep, postdoctoral researcher, showed that the antioxidant thiocyanate normally existing in the body protects lung cells from injuries caused by accumulations of hydrogen peroxide and hypochlorite, the active ingredient in household bleach.
These potentially harmful chemicals are made by the body as a reaction to infection and injury.
In addition, thiocyanate also protects cells from hypochlorite produced in reactions involving MPO, an enzyme released from germ-fighting white blood cells during inflammation.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.