Mechanisms and consequences of oxidative stress in lung disease: Therapeutic implications for an aging populace

Louise Hecker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The rapid expansion of the elderly population has led to the recent epidemic of age-related diseases, including increased incidence and mortality of chronic and acute lung diseases. Numerous studies have implicated aging and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of various pulmonary diseases; however, despite recent advances in these fields, the specific contributions of aging and oxidative stress remain elusive. This review will discuss the consequences of aging on lung morphology and physiology, and how redox imbalance with aging contributes to lung disease susceptibility. Here, we focus on three lung diseases for which aging is a significant risk factor: acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Preclinical and clinical development for redox- and senescence-altering therapeutic strategies are discussed, as well as scientific advancements that may direct current and future therapeutic development. A deeper understanding of how aging impacts normal lung function, redox balance, and injury-repair processes will inspire the development of new therapies to prevent and/or reverse age-associated pulmonary diseases, and ultimately increase health span and longevity. This review is intended to encourage basic, clinical, and translational research that will bridge knowledge gaps at the intersection of aging, oxidative stress, and lung disease to fuel the development of more effective therapeutic strategies for lung diseases that disproportionately afflict the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L642-L653
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Lung aging
  • Oxidative stress
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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