Naphthalene is metabolized in the lung and liver to reactive intermediates by cytochrome P450 enzymes. These reactive species deplete glutathione, covalently bind to proteins, and cause necrosis in Clara cells of the lung. The importance of glutathione loss in naphthalene toxicity was investigated by using the glutathione prodrugs (glutathione monoethylester or cysteine-glutathione mixed disulfide) to maintain glutathione pools during naphthalene exposure. Mice given a single intraperitoneal injection of naphthalene (1.5 mmol/kg) were treated with either prodrug (2.5 mmol/kg) 30 min later. Both compounds effectively maintained glutathione levels and decreased naphthalene-protein adducts in the lung and liver. However, cysteine-glutathione mixed disulfide was more effective at preventing Clara cell injury. To study the prodrugs in Clara cells without the influence of hepatic naphthalene metabolism and circulating glutathione, dose-response and time-course studies were conducted with intrapulmonary airway explant cultures. Only the ester of glutathione raised GSH in vitro; however, both compounds limited protein adducts and cell necrosis. In vitro protection was not associated with decreased naphthalene metabolism. We conclude that (1) glutathione prodrugs can prevent naphthalene toxicity in Clara cells, (2) the prodrugs effectively prevent glutathione loss in vivo, and (3) cysteine-glutathione mixed disulfide prevents naphthalene injury in vitro without raising glutathione levels.
- Cysteine-Glutathione Mixed Disulfide
- Glutathione Prodrugs
- Pulmonary Toxicology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis