IMR Press / FBL / Volume 20 / Issue 5 / DOI: 10.2741/4342

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Review
N-acetylcysteine and intestinal health: a focus on mechanisms of its actions
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1 Hubei Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science, Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan 430023, China
2 Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 USA
Academic Editor:Guoyao Wu
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2015, 20(5), 872–891; https://doi.org/10.2741/4342
Published: 1 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino acids in nutrition, health, and disease)
Abstract

The integrity of the intestinal epithelium ensures its normal physiological function. Consequently, damage to the mucosal epithelium can impair the absorption of nutrients, thereby reducing the growth performance and compromising the health of animals. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is pharmaceutically available either intravenously, orally, or by inhalation for reducing endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, fibrosis, invasion, cartilage erosion, acetaminophen detoxification, and transplant prolongation. NAC is rapidly metabolized by the small intestine to produce glutathione and can not be detected in animals without supplementation. The physiologic functions and therapeutic effects of NAC are largely associated with maintaining intracellular concentrations of reduced glutathione. Results from recent studies indicate that NAC reduces inflammation, alleviates oxidative stress, improves energy status, and ameliorates tissue damage in the intestine of lipopolysaccharide-challenged piglets. Moreover, dietary supplementation with NAC ameliorates acetic acid-induced colitis in a porcine model. The effects of NAC are associated with some intestinal cell signaling pathways, such as EGFR, TLR4, apoptosis and tight junction signaling. The current review focuses on the protective effects of NAC on intestinal health and the molecular mechanisms of its action.

Keywords
N-acetylcysteine
Piglets
Intestinal functions
Lipopolysaccharide
Acetic acid
Review
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