N-acetylcysteine and S-methylcysteine inhibit MeIQx rat hepatocarcinogenesis in the post-initiation stage

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N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and S-methylcysteine (SMC), water soluble organosulfur compounds contained in garlic, were evaluated for chemoprevention of hepatocarcinogenesis after 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx) initiation in rats. Intergastric treatment with NAC or SMC five times a week resulted in decreased numbers and areas of preneoplastic, glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P) positive foci of the liver in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, cell proliferation was reduced in GST-P positive foci by NAC and SMC. Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA expressions were found downregulated in the liver by NAC. The studies indicate that NAC can serve as a chemopreventive agent for rat hepatocarcinogenesis induced by MeIQx by reducing cell proliferation, which may involve IGF-I and iNOS downregulation.

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