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N-acetylcysteine counteracts oxidative stress and protects alveolar epithelial cells from lung contusion-induced apoptosis in rats with blunt chest trauma

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the protective effects of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on peroxidative and apoptotic changes in the contused lungs of rats following blunt chest trauma. The rats were randomly divided into three groups: control, contusion, and contusion + NAC. All the rats, apart from those in the control group, performed moderate lung contusion. A daily intramuscular NAC injection (150 mg/kg) was given immediately following the blunt chest trauma and was continued for two additional days following cessation of the trauma. Samples of lung tissue were taken in order to evaluate the tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) level, histopathology, and epithelial cell apoptosis using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay and active caspase-3 immunostaining. In addition, we immunohistochemically evaluated the expression of surfactant protein D (SP-D) in the lung tissue. The blunt chest trauma-induced lung contusion resulted in severe histopathological injury, as well as an increase in the MDA level and in the number of cells identified on TUNEL assay together with active caspase-3 positive epithelial cells, but a decrease in the number of SP-D positive alveolar type 2 (AT-2) cells. NAC treatment effectively attenuated histopathologic, peroxidative, and apoptotic changes, as well as reducing alterations in SP-D expression in the lung tissue. These findings indicate that the beneficial effects of NAC administrated following blunt chest trauma is related to the regulation of oxidative stress and apoptosis.

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Acknowledgments

This study is supported by Trakya University Research Center, Edirne, Turkey, financially (Project No: 2012- 90).

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Correspondence to Yeter Topcu-Tarladacalisir.

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Topcu-Tarladacalisir, Y., Tarladacalisir, T., Sapmaz-Metin, M. et al. N-acetylcysteine counteracts oxidative stress and protects alveolar epithelial cells from lung contusion-induced apoptosis in rats with blunt chest trauma. J Mol Hist 45, 463–471 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10735-014-9563-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10735-014-9563-6

Keywords

  • Lung contusion
  • Apoptosis
  • Oxidative stress
  • N-acetylcysteine
  • Rat