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J Leukoc Biol. 1994 Feb;55(2):221-6.

Inhibition of activation-induced death in T cell hybridomas by thiol antioxidants: oxidative stress as a mediator of apoptosis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University, School of Medicine, Greenville, NC 27858.


N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a well established thiol antioxidant which, after uptake, deacylation and conversion to glutathione functions as both a redox buffer and a reactive oxygen intermediate scavenger. We report here that NAC completely blocks activation induced death and associated DNA fragmentation of myelin basic protein (MBP) specific T cell hybridomas. Conversely, NAC had very little effect on the antigen driven proliferation of a MBP specific T cell line similar to that from which the hybridomas were derived. NAC displayed an analogous absolute inhibition of mitogen mediated activation induced death, even if added up to 3 h post activation. Although glutathione was as efficient as NAC at blocking activation induced death, dithiothreitol displayed minimal inhibition while L-cysteine had no effect at all. The observation that certain thiol antioxidants such as NAC and glutathione can completely block the activation induced death of T cell hybridomas implicates redox regulation in this process.

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