The promises and limitations of n-acetylcysteine as a potentiator of first-line and second-line tuberculosis drugs

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Abstract

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is most commonly used for the treatment of acetaminophen overdose and acetaminophen-induced liver injury. In patients infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), NAC is given to treat hepatotoxicity induced by TB drugs. We had previously shown that cysteine, a derivative of NAC, potentiated the activity of isoniazid, a first-line TB drug, by preventing the emergence of INH resistance and persistence in M. tuberculosis in vitro. Here, we demonstrate that, in vitro, NAC has the same boosting activity with various combinations of first- and second-line TB drugs against drug-susceptible and multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis strains. Similar to cysteine, NAC increased M. tuberculosis respiration. However, in M. tuberculosis-infected mice, the addition of NAC did not augment the activity of first- or second-line TB drugs. A comparison of the activity of NAC combined with TB drugs in murine and human macrophage cell lines revealed that studies in mice might not be recapitulated during host infection in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01703-20
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Volume65
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Persistence
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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