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Vet Hum Toxicol. 2001 Apr;43(2):106-8.

Does prolonged cyanide exposure have a diabetogenic effect?

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Research Center for Veterinary Toxicology, Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Cyanide exposure through cassava consumption has been associated with the development of malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus (MRDM). However, there are few experimental reproductions of this disease. In the present study 42 rats received 0, 9.0 or 12.0 mg KCN/kg bw/d for 15 d, 26 pigs were dosed with 0, 2.0, 4.0 or 6.0 mg KCN/kg for 74 d, and 34 goats received 0, 0.3, 0.6, 1.2 or 3.0 mg KCN/kg for 5 mo. At the end of each experimental period, plasma samples were obtained for glucose and thiocyanate measurement, and the pancreas was collected for histopathologic study. No significant differences in plasma glucose concentrations occurred between groups. The pancreas had no pathology. Chronic cyanide exposure did not promote diabetogenic effects in rats, swine or goats, suggesting that cyanide is not responsible for MRDM in humans.

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