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J Appl Toxicol. 2004 Nov-Dec;24(6):497-500.

Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) neurotoxicity: enhancement by protein-deficient diet.

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Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, New York 10962, USA.


Large doses of pyridoxine cause injury to the primary sensory neurons in trigeminal and dorsal root ganglia of animals and patients subjected to megavitamin therapy. The increased hazard to subjects with reduced renal excretory function has been explored previously. In the present work, the neurotoxicity of pyridoxine for rats was found to be increased by dietary protein deficiency. A mere 3 or 7 days of pretreatment with either of two protein-deficient diets were sufficient to accelerate and intensify the clinical neurological signs and histological lesions from pyridoxine injections. These results are caused, at least in part, by loss of body weight, decreased protein binding in serum and decreased consumption of water and decreased volume of urine, which reduce the urinary losses of the toxicant. The vitamers related to pyridoxine (pyridoxal, pyridoxamine) and the coenzyme (pyridoxal 5-phosphate) did not cause clinical signs or lesions similar to those produced by pyridoxine even when injected in maximum tolerated doses. Neither a protein-deficient diet nor bilateral nephrectomy changed the results with the vitamers.

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