Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 3001–3007 | Cite as

N-acetyl cysteine suppresses the foam cell formation that is induced by oxidized low density lipoprotein via regulation of gene expression

  • Ho Joong Sung
  • Jeonghan Kim
  • Yoonseo Kim
  • Sung-Wuk Jang
  • Jesang Ko


Foam cells derived from macrophages have been implicated as markers of early stage atherosclerosis development. In this study, we found that N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a well-known inhibitor of reactive oxygen species (ROS), decreased the generation of ROS and suppressed foam cell formation in the presence of oxidized low density lipoprotein through down-regulation of cluster of differentiation 36 expression. We investigated gene expression profiles in order to determine the effects of NAC on foam cell formation using a microarray analysis. The level of apolipoprotein E, which is involved in lipid efflux, was increased and the levels of the antioxidant genes glutathione peroxidase 1 and 3 were also increased. The expression levels of the oxidative stress response and the DNA repair genes were decreased. These results were confirmed using quantitative real-time PCR. Our results indicate that oxidative stress plays an important role in foam cell formation, and that regulation of oxidation using antioxidants is a potential therapeutic method for blocking atherosclerosis development.


Atherosclerosis Foam cell Reactive oxygen species N-acetyl cysteine 



This work was supported by the Intramural Research Grants Program (2011) from the Eulji University and the Disease Network Research Program (No. 2010-0020615) from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), Republic of Korea.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ho Joong Sung
    • 1
  • Jeonghan Kim
    • 2
  • Yoonseo Kim
    • 2
  • Sung-Wuk Jang
    • 2
  • Jesang Ko
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science, College of Health ScienceEulji UniversitySeongnamSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyKorea UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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