BIOLOGICAL TRACE ELEMENT RESEARCH, vol.178, no.1, pp.44-53, 2017 (SCI-Expanded)
Acute hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] compound exposure may lead to hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic effects. Cr(VI) reduction may generate reactive intermediates and radicals which might be associated with damage. We investigated effects of N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) pre- or post-treatment on oxidative stress and accumulation of Cr in liver and kidney of Cr(VI)-exposed mice. Intraperitoneal potassium dichromate injection (20 mg Cr/kg) caused a significant elevation of lipid peroxidation in both tissues as compared to control (p < 0.05). Significant decreases in non-protein sulfhydryl (NPSH) level, as well as enzyme activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) along with significant accumulation of Cr in the tissues (p < 0.05) were of note. NAC pre-treatment (200 mg/kg, ip) provided a noticeable alleviation of lipid peroxidation (p < 0.05) in both tissues, whereas post-treatment exerted significant effect only in kidney. Similarly, Cr(VI)-induced NPSH decline was restored by NAC pre-treatment in both tissues (p < 0.05); however, NAC post-treatment could only replenish NPSH in liver (p < 0.05). Regarding enzyme activities, in liver tissue NAC pre-treatment provided significant restoration on Cr(VI)-induced CAT inhibition (p < 0.05), while SOD enzyme activity was regulated to some extent. In kidney, SOD activity was efficiently restored by both treatments (p < 0.05), whereas CAT enzyme alteration could not be totally relieved. Additionally, NAC pre-treatment in both tissues and post-treatment in liver exerted significant tissue Cr level decreases (p < 0.05). Overall, especially NAC pre-treatment seems to provide beneficial effects in regulating pro-oxidant/antioxidant balance and Cr accumulation caused by Cr(VI) in liver and kidney. This finding may be due to several mechanisms including extracellular reduction or chelation of Cr(VI) by readily available NAC.