N-acetyl-L-cysteine ameliorates the inflammatory disease process in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats.
Abstract We report that N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) treatment blocked induction of TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IFN-gamma and iNOS in the CNS and attenuated clinical disease in the myelin basic protein induced model of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in Lewis rats. Infiltration of mononuclear cells into the CNS and induction of inflammatory cytokines and iNOS in multiple sclerosis (MS) and EAE have been implicated in subsequent disease progression and pathogenesis. To understand the mechanism of efficacy of NAC against EAE, we examined its effect on the production of cytokines and the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the CNS. NAC treatment attenuated the transmigration of mononuclear cells thereby lessening the neuroinflammatory disease. Splenocytes from NAC-treated EAE animals showed reduced IFN-gamma production, a Th1 cytokine and increased IL-10 production, an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Further, splenocytes from NAC-treated EAE animals also showed decreased nitrite production when stimulated in vitro by LPS. These observations indicate that NAC treatment may be of therapeutic value in MS against the inflammatory disease process associated with the infiltration of activated mononuclear cells into the CNS.