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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

4-chloro-m-cresol is a trigger of malignant hyperthermia in susceptible swine.

BACKGROUND: 4-Chloro-m-cresol (4-CmC) induces marked contractures in skeletal muscle specimens from individuals susceptible to malignant hyperthermia (MHS). In contrast, 4-CmC induces only small contractures in specimens from normal (MHN) patients. 4-CmC is a preservative within a large number of commercially available drug-preparations (e.g., insulin, heparin, succinylcholine), and it has been suggested that 4-CmC might trigger malignant hyperthermia. This study was designed to investigate the effects of 4-CmC in vivo and in vitro in the same animals. METHODS: After approval of the animal care committee, six Pietrain MHS and six control (MHN) swine were anesthetized with azaperone 4 mg/kg intramuscularly and metomidate 10 mg/kg intraperitoneally. After endotracheal intubation, lungs were mechanically ventilated (inspired oxygen fraction 0.3) and anesthesia was maintained with etomidate 2.5 mg x kg(-1) x h(-1) and fentanyl 50 microg x kg(-1) x h(-1). Animals were surgically prepared with arterial and central venous catheters for measurement of hemodynamic parameters and to obtain blood samples. Before exposure to 4-CmC in vivo, muscle specimens were excised for in vitro contracture tests with 4-CmC in concentrations of 75 and 200 microM. Subsequently, pigs were exposed to cumulative administration of 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 mg/kg 4-CmC intravenously. If an unequivocal episode of malignant hyperthermia occurred, as indicated by venous carbon dioxide concentration > or = 70 mmHg, pH < or = 7.25, and an increase of temperature > or = 2 degrees C, the animals were treated with dantrolene, 3.5 mg/kg. RESULTS: All MHS swine developed malignant hyperthermia after administration of 4-CmC in doses of 12 or 24 mg/kg. Venous carbon dioxide concentration significantly increased and pH significantly decreased. Temperature increased in all MHS animals more than 2 degrees C. Blood lactate concentrations and creatine kinase levels were significantly elevated. All MHS swine were treated successfully with dantrolene. In contrast, no MHN swine developed signs of malignant hyperthermia. After receiving 4-CmC in a concentration of 48 mg/kg, however, all MHN animals died by ventricular fibrillation. The in vitro experiments showed that both concentrations of 4-CmC produced significantly greater contractures in MHS than in MHN specimens. CONCLUSIONS: 4-CmC is in vivo a trigger of malignant hyperthermia in swine. However, the 4-CmC doses required for induction of malignant hyperthermia were between 12 and 24 mg/kg, which is about 150-fold higher than the 4-CmC concentrations within clinically used preparations.[1]


  1. 4-chloro-m-cresol is a trigger of malignant hyperthermia in susceptible swine. Wappler, F., Scholz, J., Fiege, M., Kolodzie, K., Kudlik, C., Weisshorn, R., Schulte am Esch, J. Anesthesiology (1999) [Pubmed]
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