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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2008 Apr 15;228(2):165-78. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2007.11.024. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Dosimetry considerations in the enhanced sensitivity of male Wistar rats to chronic ethylene glycol-induced nephrotoxicity.

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Biological Monitoring and Modeling, Battelle Pacific Northwest Division, 902 Battelle Boulevard, Richland, WA 99352, USA.


Male Wistar rats have been shown to be the most sensitive sex, strain and species to ethylene glycol-induced nephrotoxicity in subchronic studies. A chronic toxicity and dosimetry study was therefore conducted in male Wistar rats administered ethylene glycol via the diet at 0, 50, 150, 300, or 400 mg/kg/day for up to twelve months. Subgroups of animals were included for metabolite analysis and renal clearance studies to provide a quantitative basis for extrapolating dose-response relationships from this sensitive animal model in human health risk assessments. Mortality occurred in 5 of 20 rats at 300 mg/kg/day (days 111-221) and 4 of 20 rats at 400 mg/kg/day (days 43-193), with remaining rats at this dose euthanized early (day 203) due to excessive weight loss. Increased water consumption and urine volume with decreased specific gravity occurred at 300 mg/kg/day presumably due to osmotic diuresis. Calculi (calcium oxalate crystals) occurred in the bladder or renal pelvis at > or =300 mg/kg/day. Rats dying early at > or =300 mg/kg/day had transitional cell hyperplasia with inflammation and hemorrhage of the bladder wall. Crystal nephropathy (basophilic foci, tubule or pelvic dilatation, birefringent crystals in the pelvic fornix, or transitional cell hyperplasia) affected most rats at 300 mg/kg/day, all at 400 mg/kg/day, but none at < or =150 mg/kg/day. No significant differences in kidney oxalate levels, the metabolite responsible for renal toxicity, were observed among control, 50 and 150 mg/kg/day groups. At 300 and 400 mg/kg/day, oxalate levels increased proportionally with the nephrotoxicity score supporting the oxalate crystal-induced nephrotoxicity mode of action. No treatment-related effects on the renal clearance of intravenously infused (3)H-inulin, a marker for glomerular filtration, and (14)C-oxalic acid were observed in rats surviving 12 months of exposure to ethylene glycol up to 300 mg/kg/day. In studies with naïve male Wistar and F344 rats (a less sensitive strain), a significant difference was observed in oxalate clearances between young rats (i.e. Wistar clearance < F344) but not in age-matched old rats. Regardless, the ratios of oxalate:inulin clearances in these two strains of rats, including those exposed to ethylene glycol, were all < 1, suggesting that a fraction of the filtered oxalate is reabsorbed. Other species, including humans, typically have clearance ratios >1 and are more effective at clearing oxalic acid by both glomerular filtration and active secretion. Thus, the lower renal clearance and kidney accumulation of oxalates in male Wistar rats enhances their sensitivity, which will be a factor in human risk assessments. The benchmark dose values (BMD05, BMDL05) were 170 mg/kg/day and 150 mg/kg/day for nephropathy, and 170 mg/kg/day and 160 mg/kg/day for birefringent crystals, using incidence times severity data in each case. The NOAEL of 150 mg/kg/day is the same as that reported after 16-week exposure and appears to be a threshold dose below which no renal toxicity occurs, regardless of exposure duration.

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