Original Investigations

Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 11-15

The effectiveness of N-acetylcysteine in isolated hepatocytes, against the toxicity of paracetamol, acrolein, and paraquat

  • Janet R. DawsonAffiliated withDepartment of Forensic Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Kajsa NorbeckAffiliated withDepartment of Forensic Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Irene AnundiAffiliated withDepartment of Forensic Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Peter MoldéusAffiliated withDepartment of Forensic Medicine, Karolinska Institutet

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Abstract

The protective effect of N-acetylcysteine against the toxicity of paracetamol, acrolein, and paraquat was investigated using isolated hepatocytes as the experimental system. N-acetylcysteine protects against paracetamol toxicity by acting as a precursor for intracellular glutathione. N-acetylcysteine protects against acrolein toxicity by providing a source of sulfhydryl groups, and is effective without prior conversion. Paraquat toxicity can be decreased by coincubating the cells with N-acetylcysteine, but the mechanism for the protective effect is not as clear in this instance. It is probable that N-acetylcysteine protects against paraquat toxicity by helping to maintain intracellular glutathinone levels.

Key words

Hepatocytes N-Acetylcysteine Paracetamol Acrolein Paraquat Glutathione