Metabolic oxidation of nicotine to chemically reactive intermediates

J Med Chem. 1979 Mar;22(3):259-63. doi: 10.1021/jm00189a008.


Studies on the metabolism of nicotine by rabbit liver microsomal fractions in the presence of 0.01 M sodium cyanide have led to the characterization of two isomeric cyanonicotine compounds. The locations of the cyano groups were established by GC--EIMS analyses of the deuterium-labeled products obtained from the specifically deuterium-labeled substrates (S)-nicotine-5',5'-d2, (R,S)-nicotine-2',5',5'-d3, and (R,S)-nicotine-N-methyl-d3. One cyano adduct was shown to be 5'-cyanonicotine, a product previously isolated from similar microsomal preparations. The second cyano adduct was shown to be N-cyanomethyl)nornicotine; this structure assignment was confirmed by synthesis. Formation of N-cyanomethyl)nornicotine appears to occur, at least in part, without prior nitrogen--carbon bond cleavage, implicating the in situ generation of the N-methyleniminium species during the course of metabolic oxidative N-demethylation of nicotine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Cyanides / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism*
  • Nicotine / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Rabbits


  • Cyanides
  • Nicotine