N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a mucolytic agent and an antidote to acetaminophen intoxication, has been studied in experimental conditions and trials exploring its analgesic activity based on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The purpose of this study is to investigate additional mechanisms, namely, the inhibition of nerve growth factor (NGF) and the activation of the Tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) receptor, which is responsible for nociception. In silico studies were conducted to evaluate dithiothreitol and NAC's interaction with TrkA. We also measured the autophosphorylation of TrkA in SH-SY5Y cells via ELISA to assess NAC's in vitro activity against NGF-induced TrkA activation. The in silico and in vitro tests show that NAC interferes with NGF-induced TrkA activation. In particular, NAC breaks the disulfide-bound Cys 300-345 of TrkA, perturbing the NGF-TrkA interaction and producing a rearrangement of the binding site, inducing a consequent loss of their molecular recognition and spatial reorganization, which are necessary for the induction of the autophosphorylation process. The latter was inhibited by 40% using 20 mM NAC. These findings suggest that NAC could have a role as a TrkA antagonist, an action that may contribute to the activity and use of NAC in various pain states (acute, chronic, nociplastic) sustained by NGF hyperactivity and/or accompanied by spinal cord sensitization.

N-Acetylcysteine Antagonizes NGF Activation of TrkA through Disulfide Bridge Interaction, an Effect Which May Contribute to Its Analgesic Activity

Govoni, Stefano;Marchesi, Nicoletta;Pascale, Alessia
;
Vanoli, Emilio
2024-01-01

Abstract

N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a mucolytic agent and an antidote to acetaminophen intoxication, has been studied in experimental conditions and trials exploring its analgesic activity based on its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The purpose of this study is to investigate additional mechanisms, namely, the inhibition of nerve growth factor (NGF) and the activation of the Tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) receptor, which is responsible for nociception. In silico studies were conducted to evaluate dithiothreitol and NAC's interaction with TrkA. We also measured the autophosphorylation of TrkA in SH-SY5Y cells via ELISA to assess NAC's in vitro activity against NGF-induced TrkA activation. The in silico and in vitro tests show that NAC interferes with NGF-induced TrkA activation. In particular, NAC breaks the disulfide-bound Cys 300-345 of TrkA, perturbing the NGF-TrkA interaction and producing a rearrangement of the binding site, inducing a consequent loss of their molecular recognition and spatial reorganization, which are necessary for the induction of the autophosphorylation process. The latter was inhibited by 40% using 20 mM NAC. These findings suggest that NAC could have a role as a TrkA antagonist, an action that may contribute to the activity and use of NAC in various pain states (acute, chronic, nociplastic) sustained by NGF hyperactivity and/or accompanied by spinal cord sensitization.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1497010
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