Glutathione, the major intracellular reductant, may become rate limiting to cytotoxic lymphocyte activation and proliferation under these circumstances. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC-cys) was used to increase intracellular glutathione levels significant changes in total glutathione (58% increase) at 96 hours. 1

Glutathione acts as a nucleophilic scavenger and as an enzyme-catalyzed antioxidant in the event of electrophilic/oxidative tissue injury. Therefore, glutathione has a major role as a protector of biological structures and functions. 2

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are involved in various cellular events including cell proliferation, apoptosis and immune responses 3 L-cysteine is converted to intracellular gluthathione acting as a scavenger of ROS. 4



(1) Yim CY Hibbs JB Jr McGregor JR Galinsky RE Samlowski WE
(2) Klin Wochenschr (1991 Nov 15) 69(18):857-62
(3) Thannickal VJ, Fanburg BL (2000) Reactive oxygen species in cell signaling. Am. J. Physiol. Lung Cell Mol. Physiol. 279: L1005–1028.
(4) Kelly GS (1998) Clinical applications of N-acetylcysteine. Altern. Med. Rev. 3: 114–127.