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The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics

N,N'-Diacetyl-L-cystine-the disulfide dimer of N-acetylcysteine-is a potent modulator of contact sensitivity/delayed type hypersensitivity reactions in rodents.


PMID 10027856

Abstract

Oral N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is used clinically for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. NAC is easily oxidized to its disulfide. We show here that N,N'-diacetyl-L-cystine (DiNAC) is a potent modulator of contact sensitivity (CS)/delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactions in rodents. Oral treatment of BALB/c mice with 0.003 to 30 micromol/kg DiNAC leads to enhancement of a CS reaction to oxazolone; DiNAC is 100 to 1000 times more potent than NAC in this respect, indicating that it does not act as a prodrug of NAC. Structure-activity studies suggest that a stereochemically-defined disulfide element is needed for activity. The DiNAC-induced enhancement of the CS reaction is counteracted by simultaneous NAC-treatment; in contrast, the CS reaction is even more enhanced in animals treated with DiNAC together with the glutathione-depleting agent buthionine sulfoximine. These data suggest that DiNAC acts via redox processes. Immunohistochemically, ear specimens from oxazolone-sensitized and -challenged BALB/c mice treated with DiNAC display increased numbers of CD8(+) cells. DiNAC treatment augments the CS reaction also when fluorescein isothiocyanate is used as a sensitizer in BALB/c mice; this is a purported TH2 type of response. However, when dinitrofluorobenzene is used as a sensitizer, inducing a purported TH1 type of response, DiNAC treatment reduces the reaction. Treatment with DiNAC also reduces a DTH footpad-swelling reaction to methylated BSA. Collectively, these data indicate that DiNAC in vivo acts as a potent and effective immunomodulator that can either enhance or reduce the CS or DTH response depending on the experimental conditions.

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A0152000 Acetylcysteine impurity C, European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Reference Standard
C10H16N2O6S2