Cell Death Dis. 2023 Feb 16;14(2):131. doi: 10.1038/s41419-023-05645-y.
The glutathione (GSH) system is considered to be one of the most powerful endogenous antioxidant systems in the cardiovascular system due to its key contribution to detoxifying xenobiotics and scavenging overreactive oxygen species (ROS). Numerous investigations have suggested that disruption of the GSH system is a critical element in the pathogenesis of myocardial injury. Meanwhile, a newly proposed type of cell death, ferroptosis, has been demonstrated to be closely related to the GSH system, which affects the process and outcome of myocardial injury. Moreover, in facing various pathological challenges, the mammalian heart, which possesses high levels of mitochondria and weak antioxidant capacity, is susceptible to oxidant production and oxidative damage. Therefore, targeted enhancement of the GSH system along with prevention of ferroptosis in the myocardium is a promising therapeutic strategy. In this review, we first systematically describe the physiological functions and anabolism of the GSH system, as well as its effects on cardiac injury. Then, we discuss the relationship between the GSH system and ferroptosis in myocardial injury. Moreover, a comprehensive summary of the activation strategies of the GSH system is presented, where we mainly identify several promising herbal monomers, which may provide valuable guidelines for the exploration of new therapeutic approaches.