Comparative toxicities of the polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDF) and biphenyl (PCB) mixtures which persist in Yusho victims

S. Bandiera, K. Farrell, G. Mason, M. Kelley, M. Romkes, R. Bannister, S. Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


The toxic Yusho oil contained a mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which were contaminated by other halogenated aromatics including the highly toxic polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs). It has been reported that the PCBs and PCDFs which persist in the liver of victims still suffering from Yusho poisoning include the following compounds; 2,3′,4,4′,5-penta-,2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-,2,2′,3′,4,4′,5- and 2,3,3′,4,4′,5-hexa, 2,2′,3,4,4′,5,5′- and 2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5-heptachlorobiphenyls and the 2,3,7,8-tetra-, 1,2,4,7,8-, 1,2,3,7,8- and 2,3,4,7,8-penta- and 1,2,3,4,7,8-hexachlorodibenzofurans. All of these PCBs and PCDFs have been synthesized and reconstituted to approximate their composition in human liver. A comparison of the dose-response effects of the reconstituted PCB and PCDF mixtures in causing weight loss, thymic atrophy and the induction of cytochrome P-448-dependent monooxygenases indicated that the PCDF mixture was at least 700 times more active than the PCBs. Since the ratio of PCBs/PCDFs persisting in Yusho patients' blood and liver was less than 600:1 and 5:1 respectively, the results suggest that the PCDFs are the major etiologic agent in Yusho poisoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-512
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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