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Arch Toxicol. 1993;67(3):151-63.

A physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for butadiene and its metabolite butadiene monoxide in rat and mouse and its significance for risk extrapolation.

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Division of Work and Environmental Physiology, National Institute of Occupational Health, Solna, Sweden.


The gas 1,3-butadiene (BU) is an important industrial chemical and an environmental air pollutant. BU has been shown to be a weak carcinogen in the rat but a potent carcinogen in the B6C3F1 mouse. This species difference makes risk extrapolation to humans difficult and the underlying mechanism should be clarified before meaningful risk extrapolation to humans can be made. One possible explanation for the species differences in cancer response is that there are quantitative species differences in the formation of genotoxic epoxides. To investigate this possibility a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (pbpk) model for BU together with its first reactive metabolite 1,2-epoxybutene-3 (butadiene monoxide, BMO) was developed. Previously reported values on hepatic glutathione (GSH) turnover, depletion of hepatic GSH in rodents exposed to BU, and in vitro metabolic data of BU and BMO were included in the model, which incorporates intrahepatic first-pass hydrolysis of BMO and the ordered sequential, ping-pong mechanism to describe the enzyme kinetics of BMO-GSH conjugation. In vitro studies were carried out to obtain tissue: air partition coefficients of BU and BMO in rat tissue homogenates. The simulated pharmacokinetics of BU, BMO, and GSH agreed with previously published experimental observations in rat and mouse obtained in closed and open chamber experiments. According to the model, the internal dose of BMO (expressed either as the concentration in mixed venous blood or as the area under the concentration-time curve) is approximately 1.6 times higher in the mouse than in the rat for exposure to BU below 1000 ppm. At higher exposure levels, GSH depletion occurs in the mouse, but not in the rat, after about 6-9 h. This GSH depletion results in up to 2-3 times higher internal doses in the mouse than in the rat. The clear but relatively small species differences in body burdens of BMO indicated from our model can only partly explain the marked species difference in cancer response between mice and rats exposed to BU.

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