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Carcinogenesis. 1992 Apr;13(4):563-8.

Secondary amine precursors to nitrosamines in human saliva, gastric juice, blood, urine and faeces.

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  • 1Institute of Toxicology and Chemotherapy, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.


It has been suggested that the endogenous nitrosation of aliphatic, cyclic and heterocyclic secondary amines in the urinary bladder of patients with chronic urinary bacterial infections and in the human stomach may provide an important additional source of exposure to carcinogenic volatile N-nitrosamines. The most commonly occurring nitrosatable secondary amines found in human saliva, gastric juice, blood, urine and faeces are dimethylamine (DMA), pyrrolidine (PYR) and piperidine (PIP). All of 40 analysed samples of gastric juice contained 0.87 +/- 0.89 (SEM) microgram/ml DMA, 39 contained 1.35 +/- 2.53 microgram/ml PIP, 36 contained 0.18 +/- 0.15 microgram/ml PYR and 14 contained 0.05 +/- 0.11 microgram/ml diethylamine. Nitrate (14.0 +/- 15.7 microgram/ml) was present in all samples and 11 of 40 samples contained 0.43 +/- 1.38 microgram/ml nitrite. Only one gastric juice sample with pH less than 4.5 contained nitrite (0.1 microgram/ml). In paraplegics, patients with bladder augmentations and two control groups without bacterial infections of the urinary bladder, a mean daily excretion of 40.5-49.7 mg/day DMA, 19.4-23.8 mg/day PYR and 26.1-31.7 mg/day PIP was found. In both patient groups suffering from chronic bacterial infection of the urinary bladder, the corresponding volatile N-nitrosamines were formed by endogenous nitrosation and excreted in urine.

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