, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 247–253 | Cite as

Thiamine reduces tissue lead levels in rats: mechanism of interaction

  • Srinivasa Y. Reddy
  • Raghu Pullakhandam
  • B. Dinesh KumarEmail author


Lead (Pb) toxicity has been a serious concern in industrialized societies because of its association with functional deficits in nervous, haematopoietic and renal systems. Several studies have shown beneficial effects of thiamine on Pb toxicity. It is speculated that Pb chelation by thiamine may be a possible mechanism. However, the exact nature of these interactions remained elusive. In the present study we have characterized the interaction of Pb with thiamine using UV–Vis as well as fluorescence spectroscopic methods and studied the effect of thiamine treatment on blood and tissue Pb levels during simultaneous or post-exposure to Pb in rat model. The spectroscopic studies revealed that Pb interacts with the pyrimidine ring of thiamine, leading to its solubilization at physiological pH. Further, thiamine reduced the Pb levels in blood, kidney and bone during both simultaneous and post-exposure Pb treatment. Interestingly, thiamine appears to prevent the accumulation of Pb in bone during simultaneous treatment. Together these results suggest that pyrimidine ring of thiamine mediates its interaction with Pb, leading to the prevention of its accumulation and/or increased clearance from tissues.


Lead toxicity Thiamine Metal chelation Pyrimidine ring Absorption Solubilization 



We thank Dr. B. Sesikeran, Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad for his interest in the studies. We also thank Mr. K. Sreenivasulu for his critical review and suggestions. SYR is supported by a Senior Research Fellowship from NIN-Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Government of India.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srinivasa Y. Reddy
    • 1
  • Raghu Pullakhandam
    • 2
  • B. Dinesh Kumar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Food and Drug Toxicology Research CentreNational Institute of Nutrition (ICMR)Jamai Osmania, HyderabadIndia
  2. 2.Biophysics DivisionNational Institute of Nutrition (ICMR)Jamai Osmania, HyderabadIndia

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