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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2000 Aug 1;166(3):230-40.

Succimer and the reduction of tissue lead in juvenile monkeys.

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Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA.


The extent to which succimer (2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid, DMSA) chelation reduces target organ lead (Pb) levels, including the skeleton, relative to the cessation of Pb exposure is a primary consideration in evaluating its efficacy for reducing toxicity in children. Here, we utilized a rhesus monkey model of childhood Pb exposure and a sensitive stable (204)Pb isotope tracer methodology to determine the efficacy of succimer for reducing Pb in blood, liver, and skeletal tissues from chronic (>/=1 year) versus short-term (3-4 days) Pb exposures. Specific attention was paid to the efficacy of succimer treatment compared to the cessation of Pb exposure. Infant rhesus monkeys (n = 48) were exposed to Pb daily for 1 year or >1 year postpartum to reach and maintain a target blood Pb level of 35-40 microg/dL. Two successive 19-day succimer treatment regimens were administered at 53 and 65 weeks of age (30 mg/kg/day x 5 days followed by 20 mg/kg/day x 14 days). Blood was collected over the course of treatment, and liver and bone biopsy samples were collected on days 0, 5, and 20, relative to the start of treatment (day 0). Complete 24-h urine collections were conducted over the course of treatment. Results of the first chelation indicate that a single regimen of succimer treatment led to significant reductions in blood and liver Pb levels, relative to the placebo group. However, the cessation of Pb exposure alone (i.e., placebo) also led to significant reductions in blood and liver compared to pretreatment levels. Neither succimer nor the cessation of Pb exposure had a significant impact on bone lead levels. Blood Pb levels in the succimer-treated group rebounded within 5 days after treatment ended, becoming comparable with levels in the placebo group from that point on. Results from the second chelation indicate that succimer treatment is essentially equally efficacious in reducing blood Pb at moderate (20 microg/dL) levels where exposures ended >3 months previously and more elevated (40-50 microg/dL) levels where exposures ended just prior to treatment, relative to the placebo treatment. Finally, similar overall outcomes were observed for tissue Pb from recent exposures (i.e., (204)Pb tracer levels), indicating little or no apparent difference in the chelation of Pb from recent (3-4 days) versus long-term exposures. These data demonstrate that succimer does not reduce skeletal Pb levels, and they show that the efficacy of succimer for reducing blood Pb levels does not persist beyond the completion of treatment due to posttreatment rebounds in blood Pb from endogenous sources. They also demonstrate the relative benefit of eliminating Pb exposures, which serves to underscore the importance of primary prevention of Pb exposure. The extent to which these data reflect the efficacy of succimer for reducing neurocognitive impairment is not yet known, although those data are forthcoming.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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