Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2012


Previous reports have demonstrated that increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and alterations in cell signaling characterize aging in the Fischer 344 X Brown Norway (FBN) rat aorta. Other work has suggested that increases in ROS may be related to vascular wall thickening and the development of hypertension. Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a potent antioxidant that has been found to diminish free radicals in ischemia-reperfusion studies. However, it remains unclear whether chronic paracetamol administration influences signaling or ROS accumulation in the aging aorta. FBN rats (27 months old; n=8) were subjected to 6 months of treatment with a therapeutic dose of paracetamol (30 mg/kg/day) and compared to age-matched untreated FBN rat controls (n=8). Compared to measurements in the aortae of 6-month old animals, tunica media thickness, tissue superoxide levels, and protein oxidation levels were 38 ± 7%, 92 ± 31%, and 7 ± 2% higher in the aortae of 33-month control animals (p ≤0.05). Chronic paracetamol treatment decreased tunica media thickness and the amount of oxidized protein by 13 ± 4% and 30 ± 1%, respectively (p ≤0.05). This finding of diminished aortic thickening was associated with increased phosphorylation (activation) of the mitogen activated protein kinases and diminished levels of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. Taken together, these data suggest that chronic paracetamol treatment may decrease the deleterious effects of aging in the FBN rat aorta.


This article first appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science, the member magazine of the Association of Clinical Scientists, and is reprinted with permission.

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©2012 by the Association of Clinical Scientists, Inc. All rights reserved.