Mechanism of protection of ebselen against paracetamol-induced toxicity in rat hepatocytes

Biochem Pharmacol. 1994 Oct 18;48(8):1631-40. doi: 10.1016/0006-2952(94)90208-9.


The protective effect of ebselen (PZ 51), an anti-inflammatory agent, on paracetamol-induced (1 mM) cytotoxicity in hepatocytes freshly isolated from beta-naphthoflavone-pretreated rats was studied. At a concentration of 50 microM added simultaneously with paracetamol, ebselen prevented paracetamol-induced leakage of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) almost completely and lipid peroxidation (LPO) and depletion of glutathione (GSH) substantially. These protective effects were even more pronounced at 100 microM concentration of ebselen. When added to the hepatocytes 1 hr before paracetamol, 50 microM of ebselen also prevented LDH leakage, LPO and GSH depletion. Reverse addition of paracetamol and ebselen did not result in protection. Simultaneous incubation of 100 microM ebselen and paracetamol inhibited GSH conjugation of paracetamol by more than 50%, however, without any effect on glucuronidation and sulfation of paracetamol. Ebselen was shown not to react directly with paracetamol nor to inhibit cytochrome P450 activity measured as 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase (ECD) activity in the hepatocytes. At mixing, synthetic ebselen selenol and synthetic N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI) were shown to form paracetamol and ebselen diselenide. No indication was found for the formation of an ebselen-paracetamol conjugate upon reacting synthetic NAPQI and synthetic ebselen selenol. Reduction of NAPQI, the reactive metabolite of paracetamol, by ebselen selenol is discussed in terms of the mechanism of cytoprotection.

MeSH terms

  • 7-Alkoxycoumarin O-Dealkylase / metabolism
  • Acetaminophen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Acetaminophen / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Azoles / pharmacology*
  • Azoles / toxicity
  • Benzoflavones
  • Benzoquinones / analysis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Interactions
  • Glutathione / analysis
  • Imines / analysis
  • Isoindoles
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / analysis
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Organoselenium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Organoselenium Compounds / toxicity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / analysis
  • beta-Naphthoflavone


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Azoles
  • Benzoflavones
  • Benzoquinones
  • Imines
  • Isoindoles
  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Acetaminophen
  • ebselen
  • beta-Naphthoflavone
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • 7-Alkoxycoumarin O-Dealkylase
  • N-acetyl-4-benzoquinoneimine
  • Glutathione