Absorption, distribution, and biotransformation of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine in B6C3F1 mice (Mus musculus)

Xiaoping Pan, Kelly M. Ochoa, Michael J.San Francisco, Stephen B. Cox, Kenneth Dixon, Todd A. Anderson, George P. Cobb

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Absorption, distribution, and biotransformation are 3 critical aspects affecting toxicant action in animals. In the present study, B6C3F1 mice (Mus musculus) were exposed for 28 d to contaminated feed that contained 1 of 5 different hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) concentrations: 0mg/kg, 0.5mg/kg, 5mg/kg, 50mg/kg, and 500mg/kg. The authors quantified RDX and its reductive transformation products hexahydro-1-nitroso-3,5-dinitro-1,3,5-triazine (MNX), hexahydro-1,3-dinitroso-5-nitro-1,3,5-triazine (DNX), and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitroso-1,3,5-triazine (TNX) in the stomach, intestine, plasma, liver, and brain of these mice. Average RDX concentrations followed a dose-dependent pattern for all matrices tested. No controls had concentrations above limits of detection. Average RDX concentrations in tissues of exposed mice ranged from 11.1ng/mL to 182ng/mL, 25.6ng/g to 3319ng/g, 123ng/g to 233ng/g, 144ng/g to 35900ng/g, and 51.1ng/g to 2697ng/g in the plasma, brain, liver, stomach, and intestine, respectively. A considerable amount of RDX was present in the brain, especially in the highest-exposure group. This is consistent with the widely observed central nervous system effects caused by γ-aminobutyric acid inhibition associated with RDX exposure. N-nitroso metabolites of RDX were also present in tested tissues in a dose-dependent pattern. Average MNX concentrations in the stomachs of mice exposed to RDX ranged from nondetectable in control exposures to 490ng/g in the highest-exposure groups. In the brain, MNX accumulated at a maximum average concentration of 165.1ng/g, suggesting the potential formation of MNX from RDX within the brain. At higher exposures, DNX and TNX were present in the stomach, plasma, and brain of mice. The presence of RDX metabolites at notable amounts in different tissues suggests that RDX can transform into its N-nitroso metabolites in vivo by an undefined mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1303
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • B6C3F1 mouse
  • Biotransformation
  • Central nervous system
  • DNX
  • Distribution
  • MNX
  • N-nitroso compound
  • Neurotoxicity
  • RDX
  • TNX


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