Antioxidant effects of N-acetylcysteine in a neonatal rat model of necrotizing enterocolitis

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Background/Purpose: Hypoxia and ischemia appear to play an important role in the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which may be related to oxygen-derived free radical formation. This study was designed to evaluate the role of oxidative stress and potentially beneficial effects of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in a neonatal rat model of NEC. Methods: Thirty Wistar albino rat pups were randomly divided into 3 groups: group 1, control; group 2, NEC and saline; and group 3, NEC and NAC treatment. Necrotizing enterocolitis was induced by hyperosmolar enteral formula feeding and exposure to hypoxia after cold stress at 4°C and oxygen. The pups were killed on the fourth day, and their intestinal tissues were harvested for biochemical and histopathologic analysis. Results: Mucosal injury scores and intestinal malondialdehyde levels in group 2 were found to be significantly higher than that in other groups (P ≤.05). Intestinal superoxide dismutase activities in group 3 were significantly higher than that in group 2 (P =.018). Intestinal tissue tumor necrosis factor α levels were significantly reduced with NAC treatment in group 3 compared with group 2 (P <.003). Conclusions: It is likely that oxidative stress and inflammatory mediators contribute to the pathogenesis of NEC and that NAC has a protective effect on intestinal injury through its antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Ozdemir, R., Yurttutan, S., Sari, F. N., Uysal, B., Unverdi, H. G., Canpolat, F. E., … Dilmen, U. (2012). Antioxidant effects of N-acetylcysteine in a neonatal rat model of necrotizing enterocolitis. Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 47(9), 1652–1657.

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