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A cautionary note on using N-acetylcysteine as an antagonist to assess isothiocyanate-induced reactive oxygen species-mediated apoptosis.

Department of Oncology, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057, USA.
Analytical Biochemistry (Impact Factor: 2.58). 10/2010; 405(2):269-71. DOI:10.1016/j.ab.2010.06.015
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) has been widely used in cell culture-based studies for the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in apoptosis induction by isothiocyanates (ITCs). Here we have demonstrated, using [(14)C]phenethyl ITC and [(14)C]sulforaphane, that NAC pretreatment significantly reduces ITC cellular uptake by conjugating with ITCs in the medium, suggesting that reduced uptake of ITCs, rather than the antioxidant activity of NAC itself, is responsible for the diminished downstream apoptotic effects. The study provides a cautionary note on the assay in studying mechanisms of apoptosis by ITCs and other electrophilic and thiol-reactive compounds.

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