Biological activities and potential oral applications of N-acetylcysteine: Progress and prospects

Yanping Pei, Huan Liu, Yi Yang, Yanwei Yang, Yang Jiao, Franklin Chi Meng Tay, Jihua Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), a cysteine prodrug and glutathione (GSH) precursor, has been used for several decades in clinical therapeutic practices as a mucolytic agent and for the treatment of disorders associated with GSH deficiency. Other therapeutic activities of NAC include inhibition of inflammation/NF-κB signaling and expression of proinflammatory cytokines. N-Acetylcysteine is also a nonantibiotic compound possessing antimicrobial property and exerts anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic effects against certain types of cancer. Recently, studies describing potentially important biological and pharmacological activities of NAC have stimulated interests in using NAC-based therapeutics for oral health care. The present review focused on the biological activities of NAC and its potential oral applications. The potential side effects of NAC and formulations for drug delivery were also discussed, with the intent of advancing NAC-associated treatment modalities in oral medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2835787
JournalOxidative medicine and cellular longevity
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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