In-vitro mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase species comparison in humans and common laboratory animals

Bryant M. Moeller, Daune L. Crankshaw, Jacquie Briggs, Herbert T. Nagasawa, Steven E. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cyanide is a metabolic poison that inhibits cytochrome c oxidase. Its broad applications in manufacturing and history as an agent of warfare/terror highlight the limitations in approved cyanide antidotes for mass casualties. Sulfanegen, a pre-clinical antidote for cyanide poisoning, exploits an endogenous detoxification pathway and should be amenable to mass-casualty scenarios. Because human studies are unethical, determination of appropriate animal species as models in translational studies for FDA approval under the “Animal Rule” are critical. Here, we compared the specific activities of mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (MST, required for sulfanegen's activity), across common laboratory models of cyanide intoxication, and humans. Human MST activities in erythrocytes (measured as micromole pyruvate/min/106 rbc) were closest to those of Swiss-Webster mice and NZW rabbits. Similar species were selected for a more detailed tissue-specific comparison of MST activities. NZW Rabbits were closest to humans in the liver and kidney mitochondrial fractions, the Swiss-Webster mouse was closest to humans in the liver cytosolic fraction, while C57BL/6 mouse was closest in the kidney cytosolic fraction. These data comparing MST activities in animal models will help justify the use of those specific animals per the animal rule. Interestingly, statistically significant differences were found in MST activities of liver mitochondria between human smokers and non-smokers (p = 0.0030).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
JournalToxicology Letters
StatePublished - May 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cyanide antidote
  • Mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase
  • Species comparison
  • Sulfanegen


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