It has been demonstrated that asymptomatic persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have significantly reduced levels of extracellular glutathione.1 Serum glutathione was only one-third of the level of healthy controls. The level of glutathione (GSH) in lung epithelial lining fluid was only 60% of that in controls. All subjects were non-smokers. It was initially thought that the immune dysfunction seen in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was solely due to increased mortality of infected helper T-cells. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that other factors must contribute to a complex dysregulation of normal immune function.2,3,4

Glutathione plays an important role in protecting cells from oxidative stress and in maintaining normal immune response. The documentation of severe GSH deficiency in HIV infection raises urgent therapeutic questions