Role of nitrogen dioxide in the biosynthesis of nitraosamines in mice

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Science  28 Mar 1980:
Vol. 207, Issue 4438, pp. 1475-1477
DOI: 10.1126/science.7361099


Groups of three to four mice were gavaged with aqueous solutions of 2 milligrams of morpholine, after which they were exposed to nitrogen dioxide in inhalation chambers at concentrations of 0.2 to 50 parts per million for up to 4 hours. At sequential intervals during the exposure, mice were frozen and pulverized in liquid nitrogen, and the mice powder was extracted with ice-cold 35 percent aqueous methanol and dichloromethane; organic-phase concentrates were analyzed for N-nitrosomorpholine with a thermal energy analyzer interfaced to a gas chromatograph. The N-nitrosomorpholine yields, ranging up to about 2.3 micrograms per mouse, were time-dependent relative to the duration of exposure to nitrogen dioxide and dose-dependent relative to the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide; control levels (in mice that were gavaged with morpholine or distilled water and then exposed to air instead of nitrogen dioxide) were less than 5 nanograms per mouse. These preliminary studies demonstrate the in vivo nitrosating potential of nitrogen oxides.