Comparative nephrotoxicitiy induced by melamine, cyanuric acid, or a mixture of both chemicals in either Sprague-Dawley rats or renal cell lines

Lan Choi, Min Young Kwak, Eun Hwa Kwak, Dong Hyun Kim, Eun Young Han, Taehyun Roh, Jung Yun Bae, Il Young Ahn, Jea Yeon Jung, Mi Jung Kwon, Dong Eun Jang, Seong Kwang Lim, Seung Jun Kwack, Soon Young Han, Tae Seok Kang, Seung Hee Kim, Hyung Sik Kim, Byung Mu Lee

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47 Scopus citations


Acute nephrotoxicities of melamine (MEL), cyanuric acid (CA), and a mixture of both melamine and cyanuric acid (MC) were comparatively investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats at 5 doses each with 10-fold dose interval as follows: MEL at 0.0315, 0.315, 3.15, 31.5, and 315 mg/kg; CA at 0.025, 0.25, 2.5, 25, and 250 mg/kg, and MC: [1: (0.0315 + 0.025), 10: (0.315 + 0.25), 100: (3.15 + 2.5), 1000: (31.5 + 25), and (315 + 250) mg/kg]. No marked adverse effects in renal function were observed in animals treated with MEL alone or CA alone, but evidence related to nephrotoxicity was noted in rats administered MC. Renal calculi and increased kidney weights were found in rats 7 d after daily oral administration of MC. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine were significantly elevated in the high dose MC groups at 100 or 1000. In addition, elevated numbers of white blood cells (WBC), neutrophils, and lymphocytes in vivo and increased levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in vitro were found in the MC group. Based on these data, the NOAEL (no-observed-adverse-effect level) for nephrotoxicity for MC was estimated to be 3.15 mg/kg body weight (bw)/d (MEL) plus 2.5 mg/kg bw/d (CA). If a safety factor of 1000 or more were applied to NOAEL, tolerable daily intake (TDI) would be 0.00315 and 0.0025 mg/kg/d or less for MEL and CA, respectively, which is far below the TDI of 0.2 mg/kg/d set by World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, in vitro cytotoxicity assays showed that the ACHN human renal adenocarcinoma cell line was more sensitive to MEL, CA, and MC than the MDCK canine kidney epithelial cell line. The 24-h half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values for MEL (4792, 2792 g/ml) were less than those of CA (9890, 6725 g/ml, respectively) in MDCK and ACHN cell lines, suggesting that MEL may be more cytotoxic than CA. Furthermore, the 24-h IC50 value for MC was found to be 208 g/ml in ACHN cells. Data suggest that NOAELs based upon acute nephrotoxic parameters for MC were low, which might require further reassessment of the current TDI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1419
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A
Issue number21-22
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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