N-Acetyl-L-cysteine and pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate inhibited nuclear factor-kappaB activation in alveolar macrophages by different mechanisms

Ya-qing Li, Zhen-xiang Zhang, Yong-jian Xu, Wang Ni, Shi-xin Chen, Zhao Yang, Dan Ma
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 2006, 27 (3): 339-46

AIM: To study the effects of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) on the phosphorylation of IkappaB kinase (IKK) beta, IKK alpha, and IkB alpha in alveolar macrophages (AM), and to explore the pharmacological mechanisms of NAC and PDTC as inhibitors of NF-kappaB activation.

METHODS: AM were collected from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The AM were incubated for 1.5 h with NAC and PDTC, and then stimulated for 90 min by either tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- alpha or interleukin (IL)-1. Western blotting was used to detect the protein phosphorylation levels of IKKbeta, IKK alpha, and IkappaB alpha. NF-kappaB activity was analyzed by using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay.

RESULTS: NAC inhibited the phosphorylation of IKKbeta, IKK alpha, and IkappaB alpha induced by TNF-a, but had no effect on the phosphorylation of IKKbeta, IKK alpha and IkappaB alpha induced by IL-1. PDTC did not inhibit the phosphorylation of IkappaB alpha induced by TNF- alpha or IL-1. Similarly, NAC inhibited the activation of NF-kB induced by TNF- alpha, but had no effect on the activation of NF-kappaB induced by IL-1. PDTC significantly inhibited the activation of NF-kappa B induced by TNF- alpha and IL-1. The electrophoretic mobility shift assay also showed that PDTC and NAC do not directly inhibit NF-kappa B DNA binding activity in vitro.

CONCLUSION: PDTC prevents the degradation of IkappaB alpha via the ubiquitylation-proteasome proteolytic pathway. NAC can inhibit the processes upstream of IKK activation induced by TNF- alpha, which results in the decline of NF-kappaB activity.

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