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Mol Toxicol. 1987 Jan-Mar;1(1):17-34.

beta,beta'-Iminodipropionitrile (IDPN) neurotoxicity: a mechanistic hypothesis for toxic activation.

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Department of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


beta,beta'-Iminodipropionitrile (IDPN) induces neurobehavioral aberrations in experimental animals and massive focal accumulations of neurofilaments in proximal regions of axons. A hypothesis is presented to explain the neurotoxic activity of IDPN in terms of oxidative amine metabolism, wherein a resonance-stabilized cyanoenamine 3-(2-cyanoethylamino)acrylonitrile (dehydro-IDPN, 5) could be generated. Chemical studies were conducted to verify the likelihood of the proposed enzymatic transformations and their consistency with the known excreted metabolites. Dehydro-IDPN gives rise to a slow hydrolytic release of cyanoacetaldehyde at pH 7, which can transform protein-based amino groups to cyanoenamines, though the latter derivatives could be formed directly through a relatively rapid transamination reaction with dehydro-IDPN at pH 7. Kinetic studies were conducted to assess the balance between competing hydrolysis (pseudo-first order) and transamination (second order) of cyanoenamines as a function of pH. Cyanoethenylation of the epsilon-amino groups of critical lysine residues in the "tail-piece" domains of neurofilament (NF) subunit proteins could disrupt the supramolecular coulombic interactions thought to contribute to maintenance of cytoskeletal caliber. This could result in a defect in the slow axonal transport of NF, and subsequently in the formation of proximal axonal enlargements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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