Ribose cysteine protects against acetaminophen-induced hepatic and renal toxicity

A. M. Lucas, G. Hennig, P. K. Dominick, H. E. Whiteley, J. C. Roberts, S. D. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ribose cysteine (RibCys) is a cysteine prodrug that increases both hepatic and renal glutathione with documented antagonism of acetaminophen (APAP)-induced hepatotoxicity. To determine if RibCys could also protect against APAP-induced kidney damage, mice were injected with APAP (600 mg/kg) or APAP and RibCys (1.0 g/kg) (APAP/RIB) followed by additional RibCys injections 1 and 2 hours later. Mice were euthanatized 10-12 hours after APAP administration, and liver and kidney toxicity were assessed by plasma sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) activity and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), respectively, and by histopathology. APAP treatment resulted in elevation of SDH activity and BUN to 2,490 U/ml and 47 mg/dl, respectively. By contrast, SDH and BUN values for APAP/RIB-treated mice were not different from controls, 0 U/ml and 31 mg/dl, respectively. Histopathologic examination revealed moderate to severe hepatic centrilobular necrosis in 9/11 and renal proximal tubular necrosis in 10/11 APAP-treated mice. However, no evidence of hepatic or renal toxicity was noted in any of the 12 APAP/RIB-treated mice. Utilizing the same treatment regimen, APAP covalent binding to hepatic and renal cytosolic proteins was assessed 4 hours after APAP challenge. RibCys cotreatment decreased covalent binding to the 58-kDa acetaminophen-binding protein in both liver and kidney. RibCys decreased both toxicity and covalent binding after APAP administration, and in addition to protecting the liver, this cysteine prodrug can also effectively protect the kidney from APAP-induced injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-704
Number of pages8
JournalToxicologic Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • 2(R,S)-D-ribo-(1',2',3',4'-tetrahydr oxybutyl)thiazolidine-4(R)-carboxylic acid
  • 4-Hydroxy-acetanilide
  • Antidote
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Paracetamol
  • RibCys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology


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