Formation of HCN and its chlorination to ClCN by stimulated human neutrophils--2. Oxidation of thiocyanate as a source of HCN

Int J Biochem. 1986;18(12):1107-14. doi: 10.1016/0020-711x(86)90084-4.


Leucocytes challenged by Staphylococcus epidermidis or stimulated by phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) produce cyanide from thiocyanate. The amount of H14CN formed depends on KS14CN concentration and is enhanced by pretreatment of phagocytosed bacteria with penicillin or by adding amine-taurine to the medium of PMA-stimulated neutrophils. The reaction of taurine chloramine or chlorinated Staphylococcus epidermidis (containing N-Cl groups) with thiocyanate results in HCN formation. At higher concentration of chloramine cyanogen chloride is formed. Cyanide is chlorinated by PMA-stimulated neutrophils and this process is significantly enhanced by exogenous taurine and inhibited by 3-amino 1,2,4-triazole. It is conceivable that oxidation of thiocyanate to HCN and chlorination of HCN to ClCN is mediated by the chlorinating species (taurine chloramine) produced by stimulated neutrophils.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Cyanides / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Cyanide / blood*
  • Kinetics
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phagocytosis*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / metabolism
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology
  • Thiocyanates / blood*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Cyanides
  • Thiocyanates
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Hydrogen Cyanide
  • cyanogen chloride