A minireview on N-acetylcysteine: An old drug with new approaches

Life Sci. 2016 Apr 15;151:359-363. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2016.03.003. Epub 2016 Mar 2.


N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a cysteine pro-drug and glutathione precursor has been used in therapeutic practices for several decades, as a mucolytic agent and for the treatment of numerous disorders including paracetamol intoxication. There is a growing interest concerning the beneficial effects of NAC against the early stages of toxicity-induced by pesticides. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic and clinical applications of NAC are not fully understood. In this review we aimed to focus on the protective effects of NAC against oxidative stress caused by pesticide in many organs. The possible mechanisms of action may be associated to its antioxidant properties. The anti-oxidative activity of NAC has been attributed to the fast reaction with free radicals as well as the restitution of reduced glutathione (GSH).

Keywords: GSH; N-acetylcysteine; Nrf2; Oxidative stress; Pesticides.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology*
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Prodrugs / pharmacology
  • Prodrugs / therapeutic use*


  • Antioxidants
  • Prodrugs
  • Acetylcysteine