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The potential role N-acetylcysteine in lead exposure.

Sławomir Kasperczyk 

Śląska Akademia Medyczna Zakład Biochemii Ogólnej Katedry Biochemii (ŚAM), Jordana 19, Zabrze 41-808, Poland


As it is known that exposure to lead (Pb) usually causes oxidative stress. Though lead is not one of transitional metals, most of transitional researches shows increases amount of lipids peroxidation products in different organs under its influence. There was observed increased concentration malondialdehyde (MDA) in blood of animals exposed on different doses of lead both in serum, erythrocytes and leucocytes. In tissues of organs such as brain, kidney, liver, lung, eye lens there were also stated increased lipids peroxidation processes, which depended on lead doses and exposure time. Researches on culture cells confirmed that addition of lead ions to culture increases free radical processes of fatty acids oxidation. In group of people exposed to lead compounds, there was stated increased lipids peroxidation (measured as malondialdehyde – MDA) in blood, depending on exposure degree. Up till now, there are no effective methods preventing negative action of this metal in human organism in case of long-term and protracted poisonings with this element.

It seems that antioxidants can prevent toxic effects of this metal especially N-acetylocysteine (NAC). This medicine increases level of reduced glutathione (GSH), direct reduces reactive oxygen species as hydroxyl radical and hydrogen peroxide, reduces concentration of MDA. In experimental researches NAC decreased toxic effect of lead. But there is no clinical studies of NAC in human lead exposure.

Employees occupationally exposed to lead of zinc and lead steelworks have been included into clinical study. Blood lead level (PbB) and concentration of zincprotoporphirin (ZPP) have been used to evaluate a degree of exposure. Workers have received NAC in dose 200mg or 400mg orally per day. In blood the concentration of MDA and lipid concentration (triacylglycerides, total cholesterol and fraction: HDL and LDL –cholesterol) will be determinated before and after 3 months of NAC administration.


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Presentation: Poster at Zjazd Polskiego Towarzystwa Biochemicznego, Sympozjum M, by Sławomir Kasperczyk
See On-line Journal of Zjazd Polskiego Towarzystwa Biochemicznego

Submitted: 2007-04-30 23:56
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44