, Volume 5, Issue 11, pp 938–946

Metabolic fate of gossypol: the metabolism of14C-gossypol in rats


  • Mohamed B. Abou-Donia
    • Department of Biochemistry & BiophysicsTexas A&M University
  • Carl M. Lyman
    • Department of Biochemistry & BiophysicsTexas A&M University
  • Julius W. Dieckert
    • Department of Biochemistry & BiophysicsTexas A&M University

DOI: 10.1007/BF02531126

Cite this article as:
Abou-Donia, M.B., Lyman, C.M. & Dieckert, J.W. Lipids (1970) 5: 938. doi:10.1007/BF02531126


Balance studies designed to obtain information concerning the metabolic fate of gossypol in rats were carried out utilizing two groups of animals. One was fed a basal diet and the other the same diet plus 500 ppm of iron as FeSO4. Single doses of 5 mg each of14C-labeled gossypol (spec. act. 19.8 μCi/mmole) were administered. The animals were maintained in metabolic cages and killed after various periods of time. The data indicate that gossypol was poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and rapidly eliminated from the animal body. Although the main route for gossypol elimination from the animal was by fecal excretion in both treatments, the percentage of the total activity eliminated via the feces varied and depended on the level of iron supplied in the diet. The results demonstrate that gossypol was least excreted via urine and that urinary excretion of radioactivity was diminished by iron supplementation to the diet. Most of the radioactivity retained was found in the contents of different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Tissues, the liver, muscle, kidney and blood had the highest radioactivity, with the liver having the highest specific activity. The data also demonstrate that addition of iron to the ration diminishes14C radioactivity in the animal body. This effect might be attributed to the formation of chelates that could not be absorbed through the small intestine. Catalysis of the decarbonylation of gossypol by iron also appears to be a factor.

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© American Oil Chemists’ Society 1969