A mucoactive drug carbocisteine ameliorates steroid resistance in rat COPD model.
Carbocisteine (S-CMC) inhibits viral infection and prevents acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We recently demonstrated the protective effects of NF-E2-related factor (Nrf) 2 against influenza virus (FluV)-induced pulmonary inflammation in mice exposed to cigarette smoke (CS). In our current study, we investigated the effects of S-CMC on Nrf2 activation in cultured macrophages, and in mice infected with influenza after exposure to CS. Nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and the expression of Nrf2-targeted antioxidant genes, such as heavy and light subunits of γ glutamyl cysteine synthetase and heme oxigenase-1, were enhanced in a dose-dependent manner after treatment with S-CMC in peritoneal and alveolar macrophages of wild-type mice, but not in those of Nrf2-deficient mice. Nuclear translocation of Nrf2 in macrophages was inhibited by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002. Phosphorylated Akt, Nrf2, and heme oxigenase-1 were induced in the alveolar macrophages of the lungs in wild-type mice after S-CMC administration. The extent of oxidative stress, inflammatory cell infiltration, pulmonary edema, and goblet cell hyperplasia was suppressed by S-CMC administration in the lungs of wild-type mice after exposure to both CS and FluV. Our findings suggest that S-CMC reduces pulmonary inflammation and mucus overproduction in mice exposed to CS after infection with FluV via the activation of Nrf2.