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Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals

Formation of mercapturic acids from acrylonitrile, crotononitrile, and cinnamonitrile by direct conjugation and via an intermediate oxidation process.


PMID 6113934

Abstract

After administration of acrylonitrile, crotononitrile and cinnamonitrile to rats, two types of mercapturic acids were isolated from urine and identified by mass and NMR spectroscopy as N-acetyl-S-(2-cyanoethyl)-L-cysteine (I) and N-acetyl-S-(2-hydroxyethyl)-L-cysteine (II) (methyl-substituted in the case of crotonitrile and phenyl-substituted in the case of cinnamonitrile). After pretreatment of rats with the cytochrome P-450 inhibitor 1-phenylimidazole, no trace of mercapturic acid II was found, whereas a higher amount of mercapturic acid I was excreted. It is suggested that the first type of products result from direct addition of glutathione, whereas the second group of metabolites (II), in which the cyano group has been replaced by a hydroxyl group, are formed via an intermediate epoxide. Substituents on the double bond had a considerable influence on the ratio of the two mercapturic acids formed, and thus presumably on the amount metabolized via an oxidative process: the ratio of the cyano (I) to hydroxy (II) mercapturic acid was 72:28 for AN; introduction of a methyl or a phenyl group resulted in ratios of 91:9 and 98:2, respectively.

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