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The utilization of N-acetylcysteine and 2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylate by rat hepatocytes is limited by their rate of uptake and conversion to cysteine

, : The utilization of N-acetylcysteine and 2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylate by rat hepatocytes is limited by their rate of uptake and conversion to cysteine. Journal of Nutrition 124(3): 378-387

N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and L-2-oxothiazolidine-4-carboxylate (OTC) are converted enzymatically to cysteine and have been used to stimulate hepatic glutathione synthesis. Using hepatocytes isolated from male Sprague-Dawley rats and 35S-labeled substrates, the uptake and metabolism of these cysteine precursors was measured and compared with those for cells provided with an equimolar amount of cysteine. Cysteine was utilized more rapidly than NAC or OTC for sulfate and taurine production and more rapidly than OTC for glutathione production. N-Acetyl-L-cysteine itself was taken up slowly by hepatocytes, but deacetylation of NAC to cysteine seemed to occur extracellularly. Utilization of OTC seemed to be limited by a low rate of uptake and slow intracellular conversion to cysteine. The rate of accumulation of (35S)glutathione from OTC was low compared to that from other substrates, but glutathione production accounted for 78% of the measured OTC metabolism. Although the rate of accumulation of (35S)glutathione was similar for hepatocytes incubated with (35S)cysteine or (35S)NAC, glutathione synthesis accounted for a higher percentage of NAC metabolism than of cysteine metabolism (62-81% vs. 46%). The apparent preferential distribution of OTC and NAC to glutathione vs. taurine and sulfate can be partly explained by a lower rate of substrate availability, but another unknown mechanism also appears to favor the conversion of NAC to glutathione.

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Accession: 002530741

PMID: 8120657

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