After the remains of a recent lottery winner was exhumed for foul play related to cyanide poisoning, future winners might wonder what they can do to avoid the same fate.
A new report in The FASEB Journal involving zebrafish suggests that riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, may mitigate the toxic effects of this infamous poison. In addition, the report shows that zebrafish are a viable model for investigating the effects of cyanide on humans. As with any research involving animal models, these findings are preliminary until thoroughly tested in clinical trials. Anyone who suspects cyanide poisoning should not attempt to use riboflavin as an antidote, and instead contact local poison control centers or emergency health services immediately.
"We are encouraged to see that many of the effects of cyanide on zebrafish mirror the effects on humans," said Randall Peterson, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. "Hopefully, the cyanide biomarkers and antidotes we discover with the help of zebrafish can one day improve our ability to diagnose and treat humans affected by cyanide poisoning."
"Lottery winners are not the only ones who have to worry about cyanide poisoning," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Cyanide exposure also occurs through smoke inhalation, industrial accidents, acts of war, and even as an unwanted byproduct of useful drugs. Therefore, the development of antidotes is crucial, and it's nice to know that a likely candidate is already on the drugstore shelf."