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American Society for MicrobiologyJournal of Clinical Microbiology

Effect of N-acetylcysteine on antibiotic activity and bacterial growth in vitro.

•1.   M F Parry and 

•2.   H C Neu


The antibiotic bacerial inactivity of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and its interaction with penicillin and aminocyclitol antibiotics was evaluated. NAC inhibited growth of both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa were more susceptible than other microorgainsms tested. P. aeruginosa strains were inhibited synergistically by NAC and carbenicillin or ticarcillin. However, NAC antagonized the activity of gentamicin and tobramycin. These findings have implications for the combined clinical use of NAC and aerosolized antibiotics and are also important for the processing of sputum specimens in the microbiology laboratory.




Copyright © 2006 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved

The role for N-acetylcysteine in the management of COPD

PNR Dekhuijzen1 and WJC van Beurden2

1 Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands

2 Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Catharina Hospital Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Correspondence: PNR Dekhuijzen Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands Tel +31 24 3614579 Fax +31 24 3610324 Email [email protected]

 This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.


Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of COPD. Both reactive oxidant species from inhaled cigarette smoke and those endogenously formed by inflammatory cells constitute an increased intrapulmonary oxidant burden. Structural changes to essential components of the lung are caused by oxidative stress, contributing to irreversible damage of both parenchyma and airway walls. The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a glutathione precursor, has been applied in these patients to reduce symptoms, exacerbations, and the accelerated lung function decline. This article reviews the available experimental and clinical data on the antioxidative effects of NAC in COPD, with emphasis on the role of exhaled biomarkers.

Keywords: COPD, N-acetylcysteine, oxidative stress, inflammation, lung function, exhaled biomarkers




Ther Adv Respir Dis. 2012 Feb 23. [Epub ahead of print]

N-Acetylcysteine mucolysis in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Sadowska AM.


Department of Respiratory Medicine, Antwerp University Hospital, Edegem, Belgium.


To develop an efficient therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been tested as a medication that can suppress various pathogenic processes in this disease. NAC is a thiol compound, which provides sulfhydryl groups. NAC can act as a precursor of reduced glutathione and as a direct reactive oxygen species scavenger, hence regulating the redox status in the cells. In this way NAC can interfere with several signaling pathways that play a role in regulating apoptosis, angiogenesis, cell growth and inflammatory response. Mucus hypersecretion has been reported in COPD and in other respiratory conditions. Two pathological processes have been described to play an important role in COPD, namely oxidative stress and inflammation. Both of these processes can induce mucin gene expression leading to mucin production. NAC, therefore, may influence mucin expression by acting on oxidative stress and inflammation, and play a role as a mucolytic agent. In this review we focus on the mucolysis of NAC in the management of COPD.

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