2003 Volume 28 Issue 2 Pages 95-107
A 4-week intravenous repeated dose toxicity study of L-cysteine (L-Cys) was conducted in male Sprague-Dawley rats to investigate in detail the toxic effects of this compound and to determine the dose level at which these toxic effects are observed following repeated intravenous administration. Male rats were randomly allocated to 4 groups to receive L-Cys by intravenous administration at dosages of 0, 100, 300, and 1,000 mg/kg body weight/day. Body weight gain was significantly suppressed throughout the study period in the 1,000-mg/kg group, although food consumption was reduced only on study day 3. A decrease in spontaneous activity, salivation, stereotypy, ptosis, and tremor were observed in the 1,000-mg/kg group. Mild anemia characterized by decreases in hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin and an increase in the reticulocyte count was also noted in the 1,000-mg/kg group. Histopathological examination showed sperm granulomas in the epididymis and necrosis of the Purkinje cells and granular layer in the cerebellum in the 1,000-mg/kg group. Slight tubular basophilia with blood or hyaline casts was observed in the kidney in the 300-mg/kg and 1,000-mg/kg groups, associated with proteinuria or occult blood in urinalysis. Additional studies are needed to clarify the causes for these toxicological findings by excess of L-Cys.