• Article

Urinary metabolites of [1,2,3-13C]acrylonitrile in rats and mice detected by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Acrylonitrile, a carcinogen in rats, undergoes extensive metabolism via two routes: direct glutathione conjugation or epoxidation. Metabolism to cyanoethylene oxide may mediate the carcinogenic and toxic activity of acrylonitrile. To characterize comprehensively the metabolism in vivo of acrylonitrile, the detection and identification of metabolites in urine of rodents dosed with acrylonitrile have been carried out using NMR spectroscopy. Following administration of [1,2,3-13C]acrylonitrile to male Fisher 344 rats (10 or 30 mg/kg, po) or B6C3F1 mice (10 mg/kg, po), urine samples were collected for 24 h. Carbon-13 NMR spectra were acquired directly on the urine samples after centrifugation and addition of 10-25% D2O. Resonances were assigned to carbons of acrylonitrile metabolites on the basis of chemical shift, proton multiplicity, carbon-carbon coupling, and calculated values of shift, and by comparison with standards. The proton multiplicity of each carbon was determined by heteronuclear 2D J-resolved spectroscopy (HET2DJ), and the carbon-carbon connectivities of resonances were determined using incredible natural abundance double quantum transfer spectroscopy (INADEQUATE). The metabolites identified in rat urine were thiocyanate, N-acetyl-S-(2-cyanoethyl)cysteine, N-acetyl-S-(2-hydroxyethyl)cysteine, N-acetyl-S-(1-cyano-2-hydroxyethyl)cysteine, thiodiglycolic acid, thionyldiacetic acid, and S-(carboxymethyl)cysteine or its N-acetyl derivative. These metabolites were also identified in mouse urine. Metabolites were quantitated by integrating metabolite carbon resonances with respect to that of dioxane added at a known concentration. Thiodiglycolic acid and (carboxymethyl)cysteine (or its N-acetyl derivative) were the major metabolites in the mouse, while N-acetyl-S-(2-cyanoethyl)cysteine and N-acetyl-S-(2-hydroxyethyl)cysteine were the major metabolites in the rat. Metabolites derived from cyanoethylene oxide (CEO) accounted for approximately 60% of the products excreted in rat urine, compared with 80% in the urine from mice. Differences between rat and mouse in the further metabolism of CEO were also observed. The proportion of the dose metabolized via CEO may be an important determinant of the toxicity and carcinogenicity of acrylonitrile


Fennell, T., Kedderis, GL., & Sumner, S. (1991). Urinary metabolites of [1,2,3-13C]acrylonitrile in rats and mice detected by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 4(6), 678-687.