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Toxicological assessment of azarcon, a lead salt used as a folk remedy in Mexico. I. Oral toxicity in rats.

Journal of ethnopharmacology (1994-01-01)
L Yáñez, L Batres, L Carrizales, M Santoyo, V Escalante, F Díaz-Barriga
ABSTRACT

Azarcon, a lead tetroxide salt, is used among Mexican and Mexican-American populations for the treatment of digestive illness. Chemical analysis of the azarcon sample used in this study showed it to be 96% lead, 1% calcium, 1% other minor metals, and 2% unidentified material. Taking into account the fact that Pb absorption was estimated at 2% following a single oral administration of 100 mg/kg (Aungst et al., 1981), it is possible to propose a chemical interaction between the components of azarcon, and as a result, the toxicity of Pb tetroxide would be different when given as azarcon than when given as a pure compound. The present work studied this possibility, with the following results. When the treatments of equal doses of pure Pb tetroxide and azarcon were compared (158 mg/kg/day p.o. for 96 h), five of nine tissues studied had similar Pb concentrations. However, with the pure compound the Pb levels were higher in bone and intestines; while with azarcon the Pb levels were higher in heart and brain. The pure Pb tetroxide treatment affects lipid peroxidation only in liver, but a low induction of peroxidation was found also in kidney and heart in rats which received the azarcon treatment. Liver and kidney damage were evident in rats treated with a high dose of azarcon (1.1 g/kg/day p.o. for 96 h), while the effects with the pure compound were similar in type but lower in magnitude. Pb tetroxide as a pure compound inhibits ALA-D by 26% while an inhibition of 42% was found with azarcon.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Lead oxide, red powder, 1-2 μm, 99%
Sigma-Aldrich
Lead(II,IV) oxide, ≥96%