Date: 20 Jun 2005

Effects of N-Acetylcysteine on Lead-Exposed PC-12 Cells

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The neurotoxicity of lead has been well established through numerous studies. However, the cellular processes of lead neurotoxicity, as well as techniques to prevent or reverse cellular damage after lead exposure, remain unknown. If oxidative stress plays a primary role in lead-induced neurotoxicity, antioxidants should assist in reviving lead-exposed cells. The present study explores N-acetylcysteine (NAC) as an antioxidant agent in PC-12 cells after lead exposure. Selective oxidative stress parameters, including glutathione (GSH), glutathione disulfide (GSSG), and malondialdehyde (MDA), were measured in PC-12 cells exposed to various concentrations of lead acetate. Administering NAC after lead exposure improved cell survival as measured by Trypan Blue exclusion. NAC treatment also increased the GSH/GSSG ratio compared to the lead-only group, and reduced MDA to near control levels. These results imply that NAC protects cells from lead-induced oxidative damage by boosting the PC-12 cells’ antioxidant defense mechanisms.