N-acetyl-l-cysteine protects dental tissue stem cells against oxidative stress in vitro

  • Jasmina Martacic
  • Milica Kovacevic Filipovic
  • Suncica Borozan
  • Zorica Cvetkovic
  • Tamara Popovic
  • Aleksandra Arsic
  • Marija Takic
  • Vesna Vucic
  • Maria Glibetic
Original Article



The aim of our study was to investigate whether N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) could protect stem cells from exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) against oxidative damage, during in vitro cultivation, to preserve regenerative potential of these cells. Accordingly, we examined the potential of cell culture supplementation with NAC in prevention of lipid peroxidation, unfavorable changes of total lipids fatty acid composition, and the effects on the activity of antioxidant enzymes.

Material and methods

We analyzed the extent of oxidative damage in SHED after 48 h treatment with different NAC concentrations. Cellular lipid peroxidation was determined upon reaction with thiobarbituric acid. All enzyme activities were measured spectrophotometrically, based on published methods. Fatty acid methyl esters were analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography.


Concentration of 0.1 mM NAC showed the most profound effects on SHED, significantly decreasing levels of lipid peroxidation in comparison to control. This dose also diminished the activities of antioxidant enzymes. Furthermore, NAC treatment significantly changed fatty acid composition of cells, reducing levels of oleic acid and monounsaturated fatty acids and increasing linoleic acid, n-6, and total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) proportions.


Low dose of NAC significantly decreased lipid peroxidation and altered fatty acid composition towards increasing PUFA. The reduced oxidative damage of cellular lipids could be strongly related to improved SHED survival in vitro.

Clinical relevance

Low doses of antioxidants, applied during stem cells culturing and maintenance, could improve cellular characteristics in vitro. This is prerequisite for successful use of stem cells in various clinical applications.


N-acetyl-l-cysteine Exfoliated deciduous teeth stem cells Lipid peroxidation Fatty acid composition 


Funding information

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological development Republic of Serbia, project grant nos. III41030 and OI175061.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasmina Martacic
    • 1
  • Milica Kovacevic Filipovic
    • 2
  • Suncica Borozan
    • 2
  • Zorica Cvetkovic
    • 3
    • 4
  • Tamara Popovic
    • 1
  • Aleksandra Arsic
    • 1
  • Marija Takic
    • 1
  • Vesna Vucic
    • 1
  • Maria Glibetic
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Medical ResearchUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.Department of HematologyClinical Hospital Center ZemunBelgradeSerbia
  4. 4.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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