BACKGROUND: Free radical scavengers have failed to improve patient outcomes, promoting the concept that clinically important oxidative stress may be mediated by alternative mechanisms. We sought to examine the association of emerging aminothiol markers of nonfree radical mediated oxidative stress with clinical outcomes. METHODS AND RESULTS: Plasma levels of reduced (cysteine and glutathione) and oxidized (cystine and glutathione disulphide) aminothiols were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography in 1411 patients undergoing coronary angiography (mean age 63 years, male 66%). All patients were followed for a mean of 4.7 +/- 2.1 years for the primary outcome of all-cause death (n=247). Levels of cystine (oxidized) and glutathione (reduced) were associated with risk of death (P+1 SD and CONCLUSIONS: A high burden of oxidative stress, quantified by the plasma aminothiols, cystine, glutathione, and their ratio, is associated with mortality in patients with coronary artery disease, a finding that is independent of and additive to the inflammatory burden. Importantly, these data support the emerging role of nonfree radical biology in driving clinically important oxidative stress.

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