Selective pancreatotoxicity in the rat induced by the naturally occurring plant nitrile 1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3-butene

M. A. Wallig, D. H. Gould, M. J. Fettman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acute toxicity of 1-cyano-2-hydroxy-3-butene (CHB), a nitrile derived from many cruciferous plants, was investigated. Young male CDF (F-344/CrlBr) rats were treated by gavage once daily with 200 mg (2.1 mmol) CHB/kg body weight for 0-4 days and killed 24 hr after the final dose. Lesions were confined to the exocrine pancreas and characterized by individual acinar cell death, inflammation and acinar atrophy and disorganization. Ultrastructural alterations included dilation of cisternae of the acinar cell endoplasmic reticulum, acinar cell death resembling apoptosis, macrophage phagocytosis of acinar cell debris and regenerative changes in remaining acinar cells. Pancreatic, hepatic and renal non-protein thiol concentrations were elevated, suggesting an enhancement of tissue glutathione concentrations and an alteration in glutathione metabolism. Urinary thiocyanate (SCN-) excretion was modestly elevated, indicating some in vivo cyanide release from this nitrile. The results of this study indicate that CHB is a selective pancreatotoxin, inducing changes consistent with apoptosis. CHB is also a possible inducer of tissue glutathione in the liver and kidneys as well as in the pancreas, even at toxic doses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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