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Arch Toxicol. 2003 Jun;77(6):330-4. Epub 2003 Mar 18.

Toxicokinetics of cyanide in rats, pigs and goats after oral dosing with potassium cyanide.

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Research Center for Veterinary Toxicology (CEPTOX), Department of Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Dr. Orlando Marques de Paiva 87, 05508-000, São Paulo, Brazil.


The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of the species on the toxicokinetics of cyanide and its main metabolite, thiocyanate. Forty-two rats, six pigs and six goats were dosed orally with 3.0 mg KCN/kg body weight, and cyanide and thiocyanate concentrations in blood were measured within 24 h. After the single oral dose, KCN was rapidly absorbed by rats and goats, with a time of peak concentration ( T(max)) of 15 min. The maximum plasma concentration ( C(max)) of cyanide was observed in goats (93.5 micro mol/l), whereas the C(max) of thiocyanate was higher in rats (58.1 micro mol/l). The elimination half-life ( t(1/2)) and volume of distribution ( Vd(area)) of both cyanide and thiocyanate were higher in goats (1.28 and 13.9 h, and 0.41 and 1.76 l/kg, respectively). Whereas the area under the curve (AUC) of cyanide was significantly higher in goats (234.6 micro mol.l/h), the AUC of thiocyanate was higher in rats (846.5 micro mol.l/h). In conclusion, the results of the present study support the hypothesis that the metabolism of cyanide and its main metabolite, thiocyanate, is species-linked, with the goat being more sensitive to the toxic effects of cyanide/thiocyanate.

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