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Chem Res Toxicol. 2006 Nov;19(11):1549-56.

Unique and common metabolites of thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran in mice.

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Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3112, USA.


The established neonicotinoid insecticides have chloropyridylmethyl (imidacloprid, thiacloprid, acetamiprid, and nitenpyram), chlorothiazolylmethyl (thiamethoxam or TMX and clothianidin or CLO) or tetrahydrofuranylmethyl (dinotefuran or DIN) substituents. We recently reported the metabolic fate of the chloropyridylmethyl neonicotinoids in mice as the first half of a comparative study that now considers the chlorothiazolylmethyl and tetrahydrofuranylmethyl analogues. TMX, CLO, two desmethyl derivatives (TMX-dm and CLO-dm), and DIN were administered ip to mice at 20 mg/kg for characterization of metabolites and pharmacokinetic analysis of brain, liver, plasma, and urine by HPLC/DAD and LC/MSD. Each compound is excreted 19-55% unmetabolized in urine within 24 h, and tissue residues are largely dissipated by 4 h. Thirty-seven metabolites of TMX, TMX-dm, CLO, and CLO-dm are identified by comparison with synthetic standards or their structures are proposed by molecular weights and 35Cl:37Cl ratios often supplemented by previous reports or sequence studies in which intermediates are readministered. A facile reaction sequence involves TMX --> TMX-dm or CLO --> CLO-dm. CLO-dm, reported to be a contributor to TMX hepatocarcinogenesis in mice, is unexpectedly remethylated in part to CLO in brain. The nitrosoguanidine, aminoguanidine, and urea derivatives of the parent compounds are detected in the tissues and methylnitroguanidine, methylguanidine, and nitroguanidine in the urine. Chlorothiazolecarboxaldehyde from oxidative cleavage of TMX and CLO is quite persistent in brain, liver, and particularly plasma compared with chloropyridinecarboxaldehyde and tetrahydrofurancarboxaldehyde from the other neonicotinoids. Chlorothiazolecarboxylic acid is conjugated with glycine or glucuronic acid or converted to S-methyl and mercapturate derivatives. DIN metabolism involves nitro reduction, N-demethylation, N-methylene hydroxylation, and amine cleavage, and tetrahydrofuranylmethyl hydroxylation at the 2-, 4-, and 5-positions giving 29 tentatively identified metabolites. The diversity of biodegradable sites and multiple pathways insures against parent compound accumulation but provides intermediates reported to be active as nicotinic agonists and inducible nitric oxide synthase inhibitors.

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