S-allylmercapro-N-acetylcysteine attenuates the oxidation-induced lens opacification and retinal pigment epithelial cell death in vitro

Naphtali Savion*, Samia Dahamshi, Milana Morein, Shlomo Kotev-Emeth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The capacity of S-Allylmercapto-N-acetylcysteine (ASSNAC) to protect human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells (line ARPE-19) and porcine lenses from oxidative stress was studied. Confluent ARPE-19 cultures were incubated with ASSNAC or N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) followed by exposure to oxidants and glutathione level and cell survival were determined. Porcine lenses were incubated with ASSNAC and then exposed to H2 O2 followed by lens opacity measurement and determination of glutathione (reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG)) in isolated lens adhering epithelial cells (lens capsule) and fiber cells consisting the lens cortex and nucleus (lens core). In ARPE-19 cultures, ASSNAC (0.2 mM; 24 h) increased glutathione level by 2–2.5-fold with significantly higher increase in GSH compared to NAC treated cultures. Similarly, ex-vivo exposure of lenses to ASSNAC (1 mM) significantly reduced the GSSG level and prevented H2 O2 (0.5 mM)-induced lens opacification. These results demonstrate that ASSNAC up-regulates glutathione level in RPE cells and protects them from oxidative stress-induced cell death as well as protects lenses from oxidative stress-induced opacity. Further validation of these results in animal models may suggest a potential use for ASSNAC as a protective therapy in retinal degenerative diseases as well as in attenuation of oxidative stress-induced lens opacity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Antioxidant
  • Cataract
  • Oxidation
  • RPE
  • S-Allylmercapro-N-Acetylcysteine


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