Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association

Comparative toxicities of the naturally occurring nitrile 1-cyano-3,4-epithiobutane and the synthetic nitrile n-valeronitrile in rats: differences in target organs, metabolism and toxic mechanisms.

PMID 3366412


Toxic but sublethal oral doses of 125 mg/kg (1.1 mmol/kg) of the cruciferous nitrile, 1-cyano-3,4-epithiobutane (CEB), or 175 mg/kg (2.1 mmol/kg) of its synthetic saturated analogue, n-valeronitrile (VN), were given by gavage to male CDF (F-344/CrlBr) rats once daily for 1, 2 or 3 days, in order to compare target tissues and to observe structure-activity relationships between the nitriles. CEB-induced changes included degeneration and necrosis of the pars recta of the renal proximal tubules, ulceration and necrosis in the forestomach, a mild increase (4.5-fold) in daily urinary thiocyanate (SCN-) excretion (only in rats treated for 3 days) and 1.5- to 2.4-fold increases in hepatic and pancreatic non-protein thiol (RSH) concentrations (in all CEB-treated groups). In VN-treated rats, there were no consistent histological changes but 95- to 170-fold increases in daily urinary SCN- excretion, delayed clinical signs of cyanide toxicity and minimal effects on tissue RSH concentrations. These results indicate different toxic mechanisms for VN and CEB. The nephrotoxic effects of CEB were very similar to those of 1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3,4-epithiobutane, suggesting a role for the epithio group in the nephrotoxicity of these nitriles. The relatively low SCN- excretion in CEB-treated rats also suggested that cyanide played only a minimal role in CEB toxicity, while the high SCN- excretion, clinical signs of cyanide poisoning and lack of histological changes imply a greater role for metabolically-derived cyanide in VN toxicity. The enhancement of tissue RSH by CEB treatment with indications of enhanced tissue glutathione concentrations suggested the involvement of glutathione in the detoxication of CEB and/or its reactive metabolites.

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Valeronitrile, 99.5%