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Suicidal Inactivation of Methemoglobin by Generation of Thiyl Radical: Insight into NAC Mediated Protection in RBC

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 6 ]


S.N. Balaji and V. Trivedi   Pages 1000 - 1009 ( 10 )


N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) improves antioxidant potentials of RBCs to provide protection against oxidative stress induced hemolysis. The antioxidant mechanism of NAC to reduce oxidative stress in RBC, studied through inactivation of pro-oxidant MetHb. NAC causes irreversible inactivation of the MetHb in an H2O2 dependent manner, and the inactivation follows the pseudo- first- order kinetics. The kinetic constants are ki = 8.5μM, kinact = 0.706 min-1 and t1/2 = 0.9 min. Spectroscopic studies indicate that MetHb accepts NAC as a substrate and oxidizes through a single electron transfer mechanism to the NACox. The single e- oxidation product of NAC has been identified as the 5, 5’- dimethyl-1- pyrroline N- oxide (DMPO) adduct of the sulfur centered radical (aN = 15.2 G and aH=16. 78 G). Binding studies indicate that NACox interacts at the heme moiety and NAC oxidation through MetHb is essential for NAC binding. Heme-NAC adduct dissociated from MetHb and identified (m/z 1011.19) as 2:1 ratio of NAC/heme in the adduct. TEMPO and PBN treatment reduces NAC binding to MetHb and protects against inactivation confirms the role of thiyl radical in the inactivation process. Furthermore, scavenging thiyl radicals by TEMPO abolish the protective effect of NAC in hemolysis. Current work highlights antioxidant mechanism of NAC through NAC thiyl radical generation, and MetHb inactivation to exhibit protection in RBC against oxidative stress induced hemolysis.


Antioxidant, free radicals, hemolysis, malaria, NAC, RBC.


Malaria Research Group, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Assam-781039, India.

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