Author(s): Faber WD, Roberts LS, Stump DG, Tardif R, Krishnan K,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to evaluate the potential adverse effects of ethylbenzene (EB) on reproductive capability from whole-body inhalation exposure of F0 and F1 parental animals. METHODS: Four groups of Crl:CD(SD)IGS BR rats (30/sex/group for F0 and 25/sex/group for F1) were exposed to 0, 25, 100, and 500 ppm EB for 6 hr/day for at least 70 consecutive days before mating. Inhalation exposure for the F0 and F1 females continued throughout mating, gestation through gestation day (GD) 20, and lactation days (LD) 5-21. On LD 1-4, females received EB in corn oil via oral gavage at dose levels of 26, 90, and 342 mg/kg/day (divided into three equal doses, approximately 2 hr apart), as calculated from a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model to provide similar maternal blood area-under-concentration (AUC) as provided by inhalation. Pups were weaned on postnatal day (PND) 21 and exposure of the F1 generation started on PND 22. Estimates of internal exposure were determined by measuring EB concentrations in blood collected from F1 dams (4/group) and their culled pups 1 hr after the last gavage dose on PND 4. On PND 22, blood was collected from these same F1 dams and their weanlings for EB analysis 1 hr after a 6-hr inhalation exposure. The remainder of the F2 generation was not directly exposed. RESULTS: EB exposure did not affect survival or clinical observations. Male rats in the 500 ppm group in both generations gained weight more slowly than the controls. There were no indications of adverse effects on reproductive performance in either generation. Male and female mating and fertility indices, pre-coital intervals, spermatogenic endpoints, ovarian follicle counts, reproductive organ weights, lengths of estrous cycle and gestation, live litter size, pup weights, developmental landmarks, and postnatal survival were unaffected. No adverse exposure-related macroscopic pathology was noted at any level. CONCLUSIONS: Increased liver weights were found in the animals exposed to 500 ppm. F1 maternal whole blood EB concentrations of 0.49, 3.51, or 18.28 mg/L were found 1 hr after administration of a composite oral dose of 26, 90, or 342 mg/kg/day, respectively, but no detectable EB was found in blood samples of their F2 PND 4 culled pups. F1 maternal mean whole blood EB levels 1 hr after a 6-hr inhalation exposure on postpartum day (PPD) 22 was 0.11 mg/L (25 ppm), 0.56 mg/L (100 ppm), and 11 mg/L (500 ppm). For the offspring exposed with their dams on PND 22, F2 pup blood EB concentrations ranged from 0.017-0.039 mg/L (25 ppm), 0.165-0.465 mg/L (100 ppm), and 8.82-15.74 mg/L (500 ppm). Because decreased weight gain in the 500 ppm males was transient and no histopathological changes were associated with the increased liver weights in the 500 ppm male and female groups, these changes were not considered adverse. Therefore, for parental systemic toxicity, 100 ppm was considered a NOEL and 500 ppm a NOAEL in this study. The 500 ppm exposure concentration was considered a NOAEL for F0 and F1 reproductive toxicity and offspring developmental endpoints.
This article was published in Birth Defects Res B Dev Reprod Toxicol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology