Modulation by N-acetylcysteine of lead-induced alterations in rat brain: reduced glutathione levels and morphology

Toxicol Mech Methods. 2007;17(5):289-93. doi: 10.1080/15376510601017769.


ABSTRACT The present study pertains to the modulator action of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on glutathione (GSH) status in lead-exposed brain regions of the rat. The effect of lead at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight/day was studied on the cerebral cortex and cerebellum region of rat brain. The results showed a significant decline in the reduced glutathione level in the cerebellar and cerebral tissue homogenates. Histological analysis of the different brain regions also revealed a marked deterioration in the organization of the pyramidal cellular layer of the cerebrum and the Purkinje's cellular layer of the cerebellum. The animals that underwent lead treatment when administrated with N-acetylcysteine at a dose of 160 mg/kg body weight/day showed a significant recovery of the GSH level in the brain region, while it reached almost the normal level in the cerebellum. NAC treatment also brought about appreciable improvement in the histoarchitecture of the cellular layers, which showed clearly that NAC may play a very useful role in arresting the neurotoxicological damage of lead in cerebral and cerebellar brain regions.