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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 11 (2002), Issue 5, Pages 321-323

N-Acetylcysteine enhances the action of anti-inflammatory drugs as suppressors of prostaglandin production in monocytes

1Israel Poison Information Center, Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory, Haifa 31096, Israel
2Department of Rheumatology, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa 31096, Israel
3Faculty of Medicine, Technion Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The anti-inflammatory effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX), the rate-limiting enzyme responsible for the synthesis of prostaglandins. Since oxygen free radicals can act as second cellular messengers, especially to modulate the metabolism of arachidonic acid and the prostaglandin tract, it seems plausible that antioxidants might affect the production of prostaglandin by activated cells. This research is focused on the effect of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on the inhibition of prostaglandin E2 formation in activated monocytes by specific and non-specific COX inhibitors. We found that lipopolysaccharide-induced prostaglandin E2 formation was significantly reduced by rofecoxib and by diclofenac, two NSAIDs. Addition of NAC to each of these drugs enhanced the effect of the NSAIDs. These results suggest that one might expect either a potentiation of the anti-inflammatory effect of COX inhibitors by their simultaneous administration with NAC, or obtaining the same anti-inflammatory at lower drug levels.