The effect of N-acetylcysteine supplementation on the oxidative stress levels, apoptosis, DNA damage, and hematopoietic effect in pesticide-exposed fish blood

J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2019 Jun;33(6):e22311. doi: 10.1002/jbt.22311. Epub 2019 Feb 24.


Cysteine is important for protein synthesis, detoxification, and diverse metabolic functions. However, cysteine metabolism has been poorly described in fish, and the role of the therapeutic effect in pesticide toxicology on aquatic organisms is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of regular cysteine treatment on the hematology, biochemistry, apoptosis, oxidative DNA damage, and antioxidant parameters in fish blood after chemical application. Therefore, fish were exposed to cypermethrin for 2 weeks. Then two different concentrations of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) were applied for a 4-day treatment period and compared with the group of the self-healing process. At the end of the treatment, the hematological index, blood biochemical parameters, paraoxonase (PON), arylesterase (ARE), and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activities in the fish blood samples were investigated. With regard to the hematological parameters, statistical differences were obtained except for mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) (P < 0.05). Enzyme activities (ARE, PON, and MPO), as well as some biochemical parameters (creatinin [Cre], alanine amino transferase, total glyceride, alkaline phosphatase, iron, calcium, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol [LDL-C], sodium, and potassium), were found to be importantly different among all groups at the P < 0.05 level, while 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine and caspase-3 levels were determined to be high in the pesticide group but decreased significantly in NAC-treated groups ( P < 0.05). According to the results of the study, acute cysteine treatment showed an ameliorative effect on the hematological index, biochemical parameters, PON, MPO, and ARE in the blood in the all the treatment group fish. The positive effect of NAC on protein synthesis, detoxification, and diverse metabolic functions against cypermethrin toxicity was more effective in 1.0 mM NAC. NAC has an important therapeutic effect on pesticide-induced hematoxicity for fish in terms of all the data.

Keywords: 8-OHdG; MPO; NAC; caspase-3; fish; hematology.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Hematopoiesis / drug effects*
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Pyrethrins / toxicity*


  • Fish Proteins
  • Pesticides
  • Pyrethrins
  • cypermethrin
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Acetylcysteine