A sensitive method for detecting in vivo formation of n-nitrosomorpholine and its application to rats given low doses of morpholine and sodium nitrite

Stephen S. Hecht, J. Bradley Morrison

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25 Scopus citations

Abstract

A method was developed to monitor the in vivo formation of N-nitrosomorpholine. N-Nitroso(2-hydroxyethyl)glycine, a major urinary metabolite of N-nitrosomorpholine, was quantified as its methyl ester-trimethylsilyl ether derivative, using gas chromatography with nitrosamine-specific detection. When the method was applied to rats, the in vivo formation of, or exposure to, as little as 0.6 μg of N-nitrosomorpholine could be quantified. The method was also applicable to human urine, with a detection limit of approximately 0.5 μg of N-nitroso(2-hydroxyethyl)glycine per 100-ml urine sample. The formation of N-nitrosomorpholine was measured in rats treated by gavage with a wide range of doses of morpholine and NaNO2. Depending on the dose, 0.5 to 12% of the morpholine was nitrosated. N-Nitrosomorpholine formation showed a high degree of variability among rats treated with a given dose of morpholine and NaNO2, but the levels of N-nitrosomorpholine formed were generally in agreement with expectations based on in vitro studies in which dependence on morpholine concentration multiplied by nitrite concentration squared has been established. The formation of N-nitrosomor-pholine was also measured in rats administered a diet containing 50 ppm of morpholine and 1000 ppm of NaNO2, a regimen which has been previously shown to induce liver cell tumors in 58% of the animals. The mean daily formation of N-nitrosomorpholine under these conditions was estimated to be 0.88 ± 0.59 μmol/ rat (S.D.), which is high enough to account for the observed tumor incidence. The results of this study provide quantitative support for the assumption that in vivo formation of N-nitroso-morpholine leads to tumor development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2873-2877
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Volume44
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 1984

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