Guanabenz Attenuates Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Toxicity and Synergizes Analgesia in Mice

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10 Scopus citations


Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been shown to be involved in the hepatotoxicity of acetaminophen (APAP). Guanabenz (GA), a widely known antihypertensive drug, is reported to exhibit an anti-ER stress effect. In this study, we investigated the potential of GA as an antidote against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. The underlying biochemical mechanisms for the hepatoprotective effect of GA were explored. Here we found that treatment of mice with GA (10 mg/kg) before APAP overdose dramatically prevented APAP-induced liver enzyme elevation and resultant toxicity in mice, as indicated by suppression of elevated serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and liver histological analysis. Importantly, delayed administration of GA within 6 h after APAP overdose also showed an almost equivalent protective effect against APAP liver toxicity. Mechanistically, several pathways are involved in the protective effect of GA against APAP-induced live toxicity, including attenuation of ER stress and oxidative stress, increased levels of nontoxic phase I and II metabolites of APAP, decrease in the formation of toxic N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), and its subsequent protein binding. Importantly, combination of GA with APAP exhibited synergistic interaction in the latter's analgesic activity, while sparing its antipyretic action. These findings provide the preclinical evidence of GA as a promising antidote for treatment of APAP-induced liver toxicity and raise a possibility of its combination with APAP in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-171
Number of pages10
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 21 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the research Endowment Funds from the Center for Drug Design (CDD) at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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