The nutritional supplement N-acetylcysteine (NAC) may have immunomodulatory and cardioprotective properties, which can potentially benefit pulmonary hypertension patients, according to the recent study “N-acetylcysteine improves established monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension in rats,” conducted by Dr. Marie-Camille Chaumais, at the University of Paris-Sud, College of Pharmacy, France.
As the pathophysiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension implicates inflammation, researchers sought to analyze the effects of the antioxidant supplement present in NAC on PH. “Through its immuno-modulatory and cardioprotective properties, NAC has beneficial effect on pulmonary vascular and right heart function in experimental PH,” according to the study recently published at Respiratory Research.
As part of the research project, the team of scientists studied three groups of rats who were administrated with saline and monocrotaline (MCT) to induce pulmonary hypertension, and with NAC.
At the end of 28 days, the researchers evaluated the hemodynamic parameters and discovered that NCA significantly decreased pulmonary vascular remodeling and lung inflammation. The compound also revealed improvements at the total pulmonary resistance and at the right ventricular function and decreased the cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and heart fibrosis.
Despite the medical treatments, the progression of the rare disease leads to dysfunctions of the right heart, as well as low cardiac output, progressive decline in exercise capacity and sometimes organ insufficiency. Researchers aim to further study these symptoms and NAC effects on the progression of the disease.
Pulmonary hypertension is a rare condition characterized by small pulmonary artery remodeling, which causes chronic pre-capillary pulmonary hypertension, elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and right heart failure.