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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 8715185, 11 pages
Research Article

Nephroprotective Effects of N-Acetylcysteine Amide against Contrast-Induced Nephropathy through Upregulating Thioredoxin-1, Inhibiting ASK1/p38MAPK Pathway, and Suppressing Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis in Rats

1Department of Nephrology, Shanghai Municipal Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 274 Zhijiang Middle Road, Shanghai 200071, China
2Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
3Center for Radiological Research, Department of Radiation Oncology, College of Physician and Surgeons, Columbia University, 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA

Received 1 October 2016; Accepted 30 November 2016

Academic Editor: Mohamed M. Abdel-Daim

Copyright © 2016 Xuezhong Gong et al. 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.


Contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN) is a leading cause of hospital-acquired acute kidney injury (AKI) due to apoptosis induced in renal tubular cells. Our previous study demonstrated the novel N-acetylcysteine amide (NACA); the amide form of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) prevented renal tubular cells from contrast-induced apoptosis through inhibiting p38 MAPK pathway in vitro. In the present study, we aimed to compare the efficacies of NACA and NAC in preventing CIN in a well-established rat model and investigate whether thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) act as the potential activator for p38 MAPK. NACA significantly attenuated elevations of serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and biomarkers of AKI. At equimolar concentration, NACA was more effective than NAC in reducing histological changes of renal tubular injuries. NACA attenuated activation of p38 MAPK signal, reduced oxidative stress, and diminished apoptosis. Furthermore, we demonstrated that contrast exposure resulted in Trx1 downregulation and increased ASK1/p38 MAPK phosphorylation, which could be reversed by NACA and NAC. To our knowledge, this is the first report that Trx1 and ASK1 are involved in CIN. Our study highlights a renal protective role of NACA against CIN through modulating Trx1 and ASK1/p38 MAPK pathway to result in the inhibition of apoptosis among renal cells.