Antidotal Efficacy of Antioxidants against Cyanide Poisoning in vitro.

  • R. Bhattacharya Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
  • P.V. Lakshmana Rao Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
  • M.M. Parida Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
  • A.M. Jana Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
Keywords: Cyanide antidotes, Cytotoxicity, Lipid peroxidation, Chemical warfare agents


Cyanide is a potent homicidal, genocidal and chemical warfare agent. Besides, its known inhibitory effects on various enzyme Systems, its other pronounced toxic effects include lipid peroxidation (LPx), particularly in the central nervous system or neuronal cells in vitro. The present study assessed the cytotoxicity of potassium cyanide (KCN) in two non-neuronal mammalian cell cultures, viz., human embryonic lung epithelium (L-132) and baby hamster kidney (BHK-21 ) cells. In addition, the cytoprotective potential of two antioxidant agents, namely, curcumin (CMN) and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) against KCN (2 and 4 mM) in vitro was evaluated. In both the cell lines, KCN reduced cell viability as indicated by trypan blue dye exclusion, leakage of cytosolic lactate dehydrogenase and neutral red uptake. Protein content was unaffected in L-132 cells while cellular respiration determined by MTT assay) was impaired in both the cells. A dose-dependent glutathione mediated LPx was observed in BHK-21 cells alone. The above cytotoxic changes produced by KCN were more effectively minimised by NAC as compared to CMN. Efficacy of CMN and NAC have therapeutic implications as adjuncts to existing cyanide antidotes.

Author Biographies

R. Bhattacharya, Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
Dr R Bhattacharya obtained his PhD in Biosciences from Bhopal University in 1988. He joinedDRDO at the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, as Scientist in1988. His areas of research include toxicology and antagonism of cyanide and cyanobacterial toxinsemploying in vitro techniques. He has published 36 research papers in national international journals.
P.V. Lakshmana Rao, Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
Dr PV Lakshmana Rao obtained his PhD in Biotechnology from Indian Institute of Technology,Kharagpur, in 1986. He joined DRDO at the Defence Research Laboratory, Tezpur, where he workedon application of cell culture techniques for vegetable. crop improvement and high altitude agriculture. Presently, he is working at DRDE, Gwalior, in the areas of cyanobacterial toxins andgenetic toxicology
M.M. Parida, Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
Dr MM Parida obtained his MVSc in Veterinary Virology from Indian Veterinary ResearchInstitute, Izatnagar, in 1993. He joined DRDO at the DRDE, Gwalior, in 1994 and is presently working as Senior Scientist. His areas of research include immunodiagnosis of viral infections andstudies on antiviral activity of certain indigenous medicinal plants.
A.M. Jana, Defence Research & Development Establishment , Gwalior.
Dr AM Jana obtained his PhD from Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, in 1977. Hejoined DRDO at the DRDE, Gwalior, in 1977 ancl is presently working as Dy. Director. His areas ofresearch include virology with particular emphasis on isolation, identification and characterisationof various human and animal viral pathogens employing animal tissue culture and serology. Heworked at the National Institute for Medical Research, London as Visiting Scientist under DBTAssociateship from 1986-88, in the field of molecular virology with influenza virus. He haspublished 22 research papers in national/international journals.


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How to Cite
BhattacharyaR., RaoP., ParidaM., & JanaA. (2013). Antidotal Efficacy of Antioxidants against Cyanide Poisoning in vitro. Defence Science Journal, 49(1), 55-63.
Biomedical Sciences