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Vet Hum Toxicol. 1985 Dec;27(6):522-5.

N-Acetylcysteine therapy of acute heavy metal poisoning in mice.


Therapy of acute heavy metal poisoning is currently limited to a group of moderately toxic drugs containing sulfhydryl groups. N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) was used in these studies to determine if this sulfhydryl containing amino acid would reduce the overall mortality of a group of heavy metal compounds. D-Penicillamine and dimercaprol (BAL) were also used for comparison. Groups of at least 100 mice (28 g) were injected subcutaneously with 2-190 mg/kg of copper, arsenic, thallium or cadmium for LD50 determinations. Other groups were injected 30-60 min later with NAC (200 mg/kg), d-penicillamine (50 mg/kg), or BAL (10 mg/kg), and mortality was monitored for 2 weeks. The LD50 for each treatment group was determined by regression analysis of log-probit transformed data. In arsenite treatment group the survival time was lengthened in NAC-treated animals although the LD50 was not significantly changed. BAL was only slightly more effective than NAC. The mortality in animals given copper and treated with NAC was almost eliminated, except at the highest doses. BAL provided the greatest protection, whereas d-penicillamine produced the least. The LD50 of copper was significantly changed from 60.5 mg/kg in control groups to 139 mg/kg in NAC-treated groups, and to 150 mg/kg and 91 mg/kg in BAL and d-penicillamine-treated groups. NAC and BAL were totally ineffective in the treatment of thallium and cadmium poisoning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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