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Arch Toxicol. 1975 Feb 14;33(2):81-9.

Effect of cyanide antidotes on the metabolic conversion of cyanide to thiocyanate.


The excretion of thiocyanate following the administration of equitoxic doses of cyanide to unprotected mice and to animals pretreated with various cyanide antidotes has been studied. The results demonstrate that cyanide given alone or to animals pretreated with thiosulfate is extensively converted to thiocyanate. Animals pretreated with sodium nitrite or a combination of nitrite and sodium thiosulfate excreted even higher amounts of thiocyanate. This demonstrates that cyanide originally detoxified by combination with methemoglobin is ultimately converted to thiocyanate in the animal body. Pretreatment of animals with cobalt compounds (cobaltous chloride or dicobalt-EDTA) or a combination of cobalt compounds and thiosulfate resulted, on the other hand, in a less efficient conversion of cyanide to thiocyanate. The cyanide detoxified by trapping as highly undissociated cobalt-cyanide complexes is instead excreted in the urine, as demonstrated by detection of high amounts of cobalt ions and strongly complex-bound cyanide in the urine from animals treated with cobalt compounds and cyanide. A method for the determination of cyanide present as cobalt-cyanide complexes is described and its forensic application is proposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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