Allyl isothiocyanate: comparative disposition in rats and mice

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1984 Sep 15;75(2):173-81. doi: 10.1016/0041-008x(84)90199-6.


Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), the major component of volatile oil of mustard, was recently reported to induce transitional-cell papillomas in the urinary bladder of male Fischer 344 rats, but not in the bladders of female rats or B6C3F1 mice. The present investigation of comparative disposition in both sexes of each species was designed to detect sex or species differences in disposition which might explain susceptibility to AITC toxicity. AITC was readily cleared from all rat and mouse tissues so that within 24 hr after administration less than 5% of the total dose was retained in tissues. The highest concentration of AITC-derived radioactivity was observed in male rat bladder. Clearance of AITC-derived radioactivity by each species was primarily in urine (70 to 80%) and in exhaled air (13 to 15%) with lesser amounts in feces (3 to 5%). Rats excreted one major and four minor metabolites in urine. The major metabolite from rat urine was identified by NMR spectroscopy to be the mercapturic acid N-acetyl-S-(N-allylthiocarbamoyl)-L-cysteine. Mice excreted in urine the same major metabolite identified in rat urine as well as three other major and two minor metabolites. Sex-related variations were observed in the relative amounts of these metabolites. Both species excreted a single metabolite in feces. Metabolism of AITC by male and female rats was similar, but female rats excreted over twice the urine volume of male rats. Results of the present study indicate that excretion of a more concentrated solution of AITC metabolite(s) in urine may account for the toxic effects of AITC on the bladder of male rats.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Isothiocyanates*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Sex Factors
  • Species Specificity
  • Thiocyanates / metabolism*
  • Thiocyanates / toxicity
  • Thiocyanates / urine
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Urinary Bladder / drug effects


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Thiocyanates
  • allyl isothiocyanate