Experimental dermatology ● Original article
N-acetylcysteine attenuates subcutaneous administration of bleomycin-induced skin fibrosis and oxidative stress in a mouse model of scleroderma
Conflict of interest: none declared.
Correspondence: Dr Qi-Xing Zhu, Institute of Dermatology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui 230022, China
Several lines of evidence suggest that the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is of major importance in the pathogenesis of scleroderma, and thus antioxidant therapy may be useful for patients with an impaired oxidative defence mechanism.
To examine the effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on skin fibrosis and oxidative stress in a bleomycin (BLM)-induced mouse model of scleroderma.
We used this mouse model to evaluate the effect of NAC on skin fibrosis and oxidative stress. Skin fibrosis was evaluated by histopathological examination and hydroxyproline content. To measure lipid peroxidation, we used a thiobarbituric acid-reactive species, malondialdehyde (MDA). Oxidative protein damage (carbonyl content) and the activities of catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were determined to evaluate oxidative stress in the skin tissue.
Treatment with NAC attenuated the skin fibrosis induced by BLM, significantly reducing the MDA and protein carbonyl content in these mice. SOD activity in BLM-only mice and BLM plus NAC-treated mice was increased compared with control mice. However, there was no significant difference in skin SOD activity of mice treated with both BLM and NAC compared with those treated with BLM only. In addition, CAT activity was not altered in the BLM plus NAC mice.
NAC treatment attenuates skin fibrosis in a BLM-induced mouse model of scleroderma, and this is associated with diminished oxidative stress. The results suggest that NAC may be a potential therapeutic agent for patients with scleroderma.