The effect of the thiol containing compounds N-acetylcysteine and captopril on glutathione metabolism in human erythrocytes has been investigated non-invasively using 1H spin echo NMR. N-Acetylcysteine was found to increase the reduced form of glutathione while captopril increased the oxidized form, but no changes in the total glutathione concentration were observed. Incubation of the cells with buthionine sulphoximine to inhibit de novo glutathione synthesis did not affect the response. The results show that these compounds act by altering the redox balance of glutathione rather than by stimulating its synthesis, and that their mechanisms of action are different, and not simply due to the presence of the thiol group.
- antioxidant defense
- human erythrocyte