Arsenic species excretion after dimercaptopropanesulfonic acid (DMPS) treatment of an acute arsenic trioxide poisoning
We studied the urinary excretion of the different arsenic species in urine samples from a young man who tried to commit suicide by ingesting about 0.6 g arsenic trioxide. He received immediate therapy with dimercaptopropanesulfonic acid (DMPS) after his delivery into the hospital. We assessed urinary arsenite (inorganic trivalent arsenic), arsenate (inorganic pentavalent arsenic), pentavalent dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and pentavalent monomethylarsonic acid (MMA) in urine with ion-exchange chromatography and on-line hydride-technique atomic absorption spectrometry. The predominant amount of the excreted arsenic was unchanged trivalent inorganic arsenic (37.4%), followed by pentavalent inorganic arsenic (2.6%), MMA (2.1%), DMA (0.2%) and one unidentified arsenic species (0.7%, if calculated as DMA). In the first urine voiding in the clinic, the total arsenic concentration was 215 mg/l, which fell 1000-fold after 8 days of DMPS therapy. A most striking finding was the almost complete inhibition of the second methylation step in arsenic metabolism. As mechanisms for the reduced methylation efficiency, the saturation of the enzymatic process of arsenic methylation, the high dosage of antidote DMPS, which might inhibit the activity of the methyl transferases, and analytical reasons are discussed. The high dosage of DMPS is the most likely explanation. The patient left the hospital after a 12-day treatment with antidote.
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