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Toxicology. 1992 Nov 22;76(1):79-87.

Mobilization of lead in mice by administration of monoalkyl esters of meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid.

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  • 1John L. McClellan Memorial Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Little Rock, AR.


The following six monoalkyl esters of meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) were synthesized and evaluated for relative activities in mobilizing lead from kidneys and brains of lead-bearing mice: n-propyl (Mn-PDMS), i-propyl (Mi-PDMS), n-butyl (Mn-BDMS), i-butyl (Mi-BDMS), n-amyl (Mn-ADMS) and i-amyl meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinate (Mi-ADMS). DMSA was used as a positive control. When each was administered intraperitoneally (i.p.) as a single dose of 2.0 mmol/kg, DMSA lowered the kidney lead concentration 52%, while the monoesters effected reductions of 54-75%. Mn-ADMS was toxic at this dose. DMSA lowered the brain lead level 20% when given as a single dose, while the monoesters conferred reductions of 64-87%. When given as 5 daily i.p. injections at 0.5 mmol/kg, DMSA reduced the kidney lead concentration 45%, while the monoesters caused reductions of 56-73%. DMSA lowered the brain lead concentration 35% on the 5-day treatment regimen, while the monoesters evoked reductions of 59-75%. Mi-ADMS was equally effective when given orally or i.p. The i.p. LD50 value of this analog in mice is 3.0 mmol/kg, a value which lies between the reported LD50 doses of DMSA (16.0 mmol/kg) and dimercaprol (1.1 mmol/kg). It is suggested that the ability of these monoesters to cross cell membranes may account for their superiority to DMSA in mobilizing brain lead in this animal model.

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