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Thiamine reduces tissue lead levels in rats: mechanism of interaction

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to B. Dinesh Kumar.

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Reddy, S.Y., Pullakhandam, R. & Dinesh Kumar, B. Thiamine reduces tissue lead levels in rats: mechanism of interaction. Biometals 23, 247–253 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10534-009-9282-8

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Keywords

  • Lead toxicity
  • Thiamine
  • Metal chelation
  • Pyrimidine ring
  • Absorption
  • Solubilization