N-Acetylcysteine Inhibits Platelet Function through the Regeneration of the Non-Oxidative Form of Albumin
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is able to break down protein disulfides, generating free thiols. This mechanism occurs on mixed disulfides of albumin (HSA) to form mercaptoalbumin (HMA), the main antioxidant species in the plasma. Circulating HSA exists in two main forms: the reduced form (HMA), and the oxidized forms, whose predominant modification is cystenylation (HSA-Cys). Increased levels of oxidized HSA have been detected in several diseases associated with oxidative stress. This study showed that NAC inhibits platelet aggregation by restoring HMA. In addition, the regeneration of HMA by NAC inhibits platelet functions such as intracellular calcium mobilization, reactive oxygen species generation, arachidonic acid metabolites synthesis, and adhesion to the collagen matrix. In our conditions, the exposure of platelets to NAC did not increase GSH levels. However, the inhibition of platelet aggregation was also detected following treatment of platelet-rich plasma with GSH, which, similarly to NAC, reduced HSA-Cys levels. Furthermore, this study showed that cysteine, another compound able to restore HMA by reducing the HSA-Cys content, inhibited platelet aggregation to a similar extent as NAC. The results obtained in this study suggest a new mechanism by which NAC can modulate platelet activation and suggest its possible use as an antiplatelet drug in conditions associated with oxidative stress.
Reference: N-Acetylcysteine Inhibits Platelet Function through the Regeneration of the Non-Oxidative Form of Albumin. Eligini S, Porro B, Aldini G, Colli S, Banfi C. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Feb 23;11(3):445.