The Protective Effects of N-Acetyl-L-cysteine on Cadmium-induced Cell Apoptosis in Rat Testis

  • Kim, Ji-Sun (Medical University of South Carolina) ;
  • Soh, Jaemog (Hormone Research Center, Division of Biological Sciences and Technology, College of Natural Sciences, Chonnam National University)
  • Received : 2019.09.16
  • Accepted : 2019.12.27
  • Published : 2019.12.31


Cadmium (Cd) generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), which in turn cause the apoptosis of various cell types including developing germ cells in rodent testis. Ascorbic acids (AA), one of the ROS scavengers, had been reported to protect against Cd-induced apoptosis. N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), another ROS scavenger, is known to remove ROS and alleviate the Cd-induced apoptosis in various cell types. In this study we tried to elucidate how NAC affected on Cd-induced cell apoptosis in rat testis. Rats were administered with NAC before and after Cd treatment and then testicular cell apoptosis was examined. NAC treatment resulted in the reduction of Cd-induced chromosomal DNA fragmentation in agarose gel electrophoresis. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) assay showed that treatment of NAC reduced the Cd-induced apoptosis of germ cells. The administration of NAC showed that the translocation of apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) from mitochondria to nucleus was prevented, which indicated that the mechanism of Cd-induced testicular apoptosis is mediated through the release of AIF in caspase-independent manner. Taken together, the NAC may remove Cd-induced ROS and protect ROS-induced cell apoptosis in rat testis.


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