Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (4): 270-276.doi: 10.24920/003527

• Original Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Antagonistic Effects of N-acetylcysteine on Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase Pathway Activation, Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Responses in Rats with PM2.5 Induced Lung Injuries

Ping Fen(), Cao Qin, Lin Hua, Han Shuzhi   

  1. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hebei General Hospital, Shijiazhuang, 050051 China
  • Received:2018-10-08 Accepted:2019-03-26 Published:2019-12-31 Online:2019-11-19
  • Contact: Ping Fen

Objective To evaluate the antagonistic effects of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) pathway activation, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses in rats with lung injury induced by fine particulate matter (PM2.5).Methods Forty eight male Wistar rats were randomly divided into six groups: blank control group (C1), water drip control group (C2), PM2.5 exposed group (P), low-dose NAC treated and PM2.5 exposed group (L), middle-dose NAC treated and PM2.5 exposed group (M), and high-dose NAC treated and PM2.5 exposed group (H). PM2.5 suspension (7.5 mg/kg) was administered tracheally once a week for four times. NAC of 125 mg/kg, 250 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg was delivered intragastrically to L, M and H group respectively by gavage (10 ml/kg) for six days before PM2.5 exposure. The histopathological changes and human mucin 5 subtype AC (MUC5AC) content in lung tissue of rats were evaluated. We investigated IL-6 in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) by Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), MUC5AC in lung tissue homogenate by ELISA, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX) in serum and BALF by spectrophotometry, and the expression of p-ERK1/2, p-JNK1/2 and p-p38 proteins by Western blot. All the measurements were analyzed and compared statistically.Results Lung tissue of rats exposed to PM2.5 showed histological destruction and increased mucus secretion of bronchial epithelial cells. Rats receiving NAC treatment showed less histological destruction and mucus secretion. Of P, L, M and H group, MUC5AC in lung tissue, IL-6 in serum and BALF were higher than controls (C1 and C2) (all P<0.05), with the highest levels found in the P group and a decreasing trend with increase of NAC dose. The activity of GSH-PX in serum and BALF of PM2.5 exposed rats (P, L, M and H) was lower than that of controls (all P<0.05), with higher activities found in NAC treated rats (L, M, and H), and an increasing trend with increase of NAC dose. The expressions of p-ERK1/2, p-JNK1/2 and p-p38 proteins in PM2.5 exposed lung tissue (P, L, M and H) was higher than controls (all P<0.05), with decreased levels and dose dependent downregulation found in NAC treated rats.Conclusion NAC can antagonize major MAPK pathway activation, lung oxidative stress and inflammatory injury induced by PM2.5 in rats.

Key words: fine particulate matter (PM2.5), N-acetylcysteine, mitogen-activated protein kinases, oxidative stress, inflammatory response, rats

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