Distribution of chiral PCBs in selected tissues in the laboratory rat.
The enantiomeric enrichment of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) atropisomers has been reported in both wildlife and in humans. The biological processes causing this enrichment are only poorly investigated, a fact that limits the use of enantiomeric fractions (EFs) as a tool to study various processes of environmental relevance. To further understand these enantioselective processes, this study investigates the tissue distribution and EFs of some PCB atropisomers after administration of PCB mixtures to immature male Sprague-Dawley rats. The mixtures selected for this study, Aroclor 1254 and an environmental mixture extracted from Chlorofen-contaminated soil, are qualitatively different and are known to induce different groups of hepatic enzymes. Animals were sacrificed 6 days after dosing, PCBs were extracted, and, whenever possible, the EFs of PCBs 84, 91, 95, 149, 174, and 176 were determined by chiral gas chromatography. The EFs of PCB 95 (adipose tissue, liver, and skin) and PCB 149 (adipose tissue, liver, skin, and blood) in tissues from Aroclor 1254-treated animals differed significantly from EFs in the Aroclor standard, while only EFs of PCB 95 (blood) and PCB 174 (adipose tissue) in tissues from soil-extract-treated animals were different from those of the Chlorofen soil extract. PCB 149 in tissues from soil-extract-treated animals underwent no statistically significant enantiomeric enrichment. These differences in the EFs clearly suggest that the enantioselective enrichment of PCB atropisomers may correlate with exposure history, and with the induction of hepatic enzymes, and that EFs may be useful chemical markers of physiologic and biochemical changes following exposure to PCBs.
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