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Biomarkers. 2012 Nov;17(7):625-33. doi: 10.3109/1354750X.2012.709880. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Comparison of cyanide exposure markers in the biofluids of smokers and non-smokers.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA.


Cyanide is highly toxic and is present in many foods, combustion products (e.g. cigarette smoke), industrial processes, and has been used as a terrorist weapon. In this study, cyanide and its major metabolites, thiocyanate and 2-amino-2-thiazoline-4-carboxylic acid (ATCA), were analyzed from various human biofluids of smokers (low-level chronic cyanide exposure group) and non-smokers to gain insight into the relationship of these biomarkers to cyanide exposure. The concentrations of each biomarker tested were elevated for smokers in each biofluid. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were found for thiocyanate in plasma and urine, and ATCA showed significant differences in plasma and saliva. Additionally, biomarker concentration ratios, correlations between markers of cyanide exposure, and other statistical methods were performed to better understand the relationship between cyanide and its metabolites. Of the markers studied, the results indicate plasma ATCA, in particular, showed excellent promise as a biomarker for chronic low-level cyanide exposure.

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