Dose and Time-Dependent Effects of Cyanide on Thiosulfate Sulfurtransferase, 3-Mercaptopyruvate Sulfurtransferase, and Cystathionine λ-Lyase Activities


  • The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


We assessed the dose-dependent effect of potassium cyanide (KCN) on thiosulfate sulfurtransferase (TST), 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (3-MPST), and cystathionine λ-lyase (CST) activities in mice. The time-dependent effect of 0.5 LD50 KCN on cyanide level and cytochrome c oxidase (CCO), TST, 3-MPST, and CST activities was also examined. Furthermore, TST, 3-MPST, and CST activities were measured in stored mice cadavers. Hepatic and renal TST activity increased by 0.5 LD50 KCN but diminished by ≥2.0 LD50. After 0.5 LD50 KCN, the elevated hepatic cyanide level was accompanied by increased TST, 3-MPST, and CST activities, and CCO inhibition. Elevated renal cyanide level was only accompanied by increased 3-MPST activity. No appreciable change in enzyme activities was observed in mice cadavers. The study concludes that high doses of cyanide exert saturating effects on its detoxification enzymes, indicating their exogenous use during cyanide poisoning. Also, these enzymes are not reliable markers of cyanide poisoning in autopsied samples.