Mechanism of action of paracetamol protective agents in mice in vivo

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    Abstract

    The mechanism of action of cysteine, methionine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and cysteamine in protecting against paracetamol (APAP) induced hepatotoxicity in male C3H mice in vivo has been investigated by, (i) characterising the effect of the individual protective agents on the metabolism of an hepatotoxic dose of APAP, and (ii) determining the efficacy of the protective agents in animals treated with buthionine sulphoximine (BSO), a specific inhibitor of glutathione (GSH) synthesis. Co-administration of cysteine, methionine or NAC increased, while co-administration of cysteamine decreased, the proportion of GSH-derived conjugates of APAP excreted in the urine of mice administered APAP, 300 mg/kg. Pretreatment of animals with BSO abolished the protective effect of cysteine, methionine and NAC, whereas cysteamine still afforded protection against APAP after BSO treatment. In conjunction with other data, these results suggest the most likely mechanism for the protective effect of cysteine, methionine and NAC is by facilitating GSH synthesis, while the most likely mechanism for the protective effect of cysteamine is inhibition of cytochrome P-450 mediated formation of the reactive metabolite of APAP.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2995-3000
    Number of pages6
    JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
    Volume33
    Issue number19
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1984

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