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J Biochem Toxicol. 1989 Spring;4(1):29-33.

The inactivation of rhodanese by nitrite and inhibition by other anions in vitro.

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U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, SGRD-UV-PB, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21010-5425.


Cyanide detoxification in mammals occurs, in part, by sulfur transfer by rhodanese to form the less toxic thiocyanate. Thiosulfate and nitrite are often used in combination for the treatment of cyanide intoxication. This report shows that nitrite can inhibit the rate of sulfur transfer by rhodanese in vitro. Nitrate, chloride, sulfate, and acetate were also examined as inhibitors. Inhibition by nitrite appeared to be more complex than for the other anions tested. Closer examination showed that nitrite can inactivate the sulfur-free rhodanese. Our observation leads to the suggestion that, in vivo, either rhodanese is maintained in its more stable sulfur-substituted form or cellular compartmentalization prevents inactivation by nitrite.

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