The diabetic heart has been linked with reduced endogenous levels of coenzyme Q9/10 (CoQ), an important antioxidant and component of the electron transport chain. Although CoQ has displayed cardioprotective potential in experimental models of diabetes, the impact of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) on mitochondrial energetics and endogenous levels of CoQ remains to be clarified. To explore these effects, high glucose-exposed H9c2 cardiomyocytes were used as an experimental model of hyperglycemia-induced cardiac injury. The results showed that high glucose exposure caused an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which was associated with impaired mitochondrial energetics as confirmed by a reduction of maximal respiration rate and depleted ATP levels. These detrimental effects were consistent with significantly reduced endogenous CoQ levels and accelerated cell toxicity. Although metformin demonstrated similar effects on mitochondrial energetics and cell viability, NAC demonstrated a more pronounced effect in ameliorating cytosolic and mitochondrial ROS production. Interestingly, the ameliorative effects of NAC against hyperglycemia-induced injury were linked with its capability to enhance endogenous CoQ levels. Although such data are to be confirmed in other models, especially in vivo studies, the overall findings provide additional evidence on the therapeutic mechanisms by which NAC protects against diabetes-induced cardiac injury.
N-Acetyl cysteine ameliorates hyperglycemia-induced cardiomyocyte toxicity by improving mitochondrial energetics and enhancing endogenous Coenzyme Q9/10 levels / Dludla, P. V.; Orlando, P.; Silvestri, S.; Mazibuko-Mbeje, S. E.; Johnson, R.; Marcheggiani, F.; Cirilli, I.; Muller, C. J. F.; Louw, J.; Obonye, N.; Nyawo, T.; Nkambule, B. B.; Tiano, L.. - In: TOXICOLOGY REPORTS. - ISSN 2214-7500. - 6:(2019), pp. 1240-1245. [10.1016/j.toxrep.2019.11.004]