Cyclosiloxanes produce fatal liver and lung damage in mice

Michael W. Lieberman, Ernest D. Lykissa, Roberto Barrios, Ching Nan Ou, Geeta Kala, Subbarao V. Kala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


To examine the toxicity of cyclosiloxanes (CSs), the predominant low molecular weight cyclic silicones found in breast implants, we injected female CD-1 mice intraperitoneally with different doses of distillate (3.5-35 g/kg body weight) containing cyclosiloxane D3 (hexamethylcyclotrisiloxane; CS-D3), cyclosiloxane D4 (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane; CS-D4), cyclosiloxane D5 (decamethylcyclopentasiloxane; CS-D5), and cyclosiloxane D6 (dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane; CS-D6). The distillate was found to be lethal and all the mice injected with 35 g/kg died within 5-8 days. The median lethal dose (LD50) for distillate was estimated to be approximately 28 g/kg. These mice developed inflammatory lesions of the lung and liver as well as liver cell necrosis with elevated serum levels of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactic acid dehydrogenase. Administration of CS-D4 alone also produced lethality in these mice with an LD50 of 6-7 g/kg. CS-D4-treated mice also exhibited pulmonary and hepatic lesions and elevated serum enzymes. Analysis of LD50 data indicates that CS-D4 is about as toxic as carbon tetrachloride or trichloroethylene. We measured hydroxyl radical formation in CS-D4-treated mice and found increases of approximately 20-fold in liver and approximately 7-fold in lung on day 4 following injection. Our findings are significant because in vitro experiments have demonstrated that CSs can migrate out of breast implants, and in mouse experiments CSs have been shown to be widely distributed in many organs after a single subcutaneous injection and to persist for at least a year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-165
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Breast implants
  • Cyclosiloxanes
  • Silicone,
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cyclosiloxanes produce fatal liver and lung damage in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this