Nitrite-treated meat is a reported risk factor for colon cancer. Mice that ingested sodium nitrite (NaNO2) or hot dogs (a nitrite-treated product) showed increased fecal excretion of apparent N-nitroso compounds (ANC). Here, we investigated for the first time whether rats excrete increased amounts of ANC in their urine after they are fed NaNO2 and/or hot dogs. Rats were treated for 7 days with NaNO2 in drinking water or were fed hot dogs. Their 24 h urine samples were analyzed for ANC by thermal energy analysis on days 1-4 after nitrite or hot dog treatment was stopped. For two rats fed 480 mg NaNO2/L drinking water, mean urinary ANC excretion on days 1-4 was 30, 5.2, 2.5, and 0.8 nmol/day, respectively. For two to eight rats/dose given varied NaNO2 doses, mean urinary ANC output on day 1 increased from 0.9 (for no nitrite) to 37 (for 1000 mg NaNO2/L drinking water) nmol ANC/day. Urine samples of four rats fed 40-60% hot dogs contained 12-13 nmol ANC on day 1. Linear regression analysis showed highly significant correlations between urinary ANC excretion on day 1 after stopping treatment and varied (a) NaNO2 level in drinking water for rats fed semipurified or commercials diet and (b) hot dog levels in the diet. Some correlations remained significant up to 4 days after nitrite treatment was stopped. Urinary output of ANC precursors (compounds that yield ANC after mild nitrosation) for rats fed semipurified or commercial diet was 11-17 or 23-48 μmol/day, respectively. Nitrosothiols and iron nitrosyls were not detected in urinary ANC and ANCP. Excretion of urinary ANC was about 60% of fecal ANC excretion for 1 to 2 days after NaNO2 was fed. Administered NaNO2 was not excreted unchanged in rat urine. We conclude that urinary ANC excretion in humans could usefully be surveyed to indicate exposure to N-nitroso compounds. (Figure Presented).
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