Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins: Quantitative in vitro and in vivo structure-activity relationships

G. Mason, K. Farrell, B. Keys, J. Piskorska-Pliszczynska, L. Safe, S. Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


There were marked effects of structure on the activities of 14 polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) as competitive ligands for the 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) receptor and as inducers of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) in rat hepatoma H-4-II E cells in culture. 2,3,7,8-TCDD was the most active compound in both assays and several PCDD congeners which were fully substituted in the lateral 2, 3, 7 and 8 positions but also contained additional chlorosubstituents in non-lateral 1, 4, 6 and 9 positions were less active. It was also evident that there was a decrease in in vitro binding and induction activities with decreasing lateral chlorine substitution. Although comparable structure-activity relationships (SARs) for the PCDDs were observed for the induction and receptor binding assays, there was not a linear or rank order correlation between the 2 sets of data. Several in vivo biologic and toxic activities of 2,3,7-trichloro-, 2,3,7,8- and 1,3,7,8-tetrachloro-, 1,2,4,7,8- and 1,2,3,7,8-pentachloro- and 1,2,3,4,7,8-hexachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin were determined in a dose-response fashion in immature male Wistar rats. The ED50 values for hepatic microsomal AHH and EROD induction, body weight loss and thymic atrophy were obtained. There was an excellent linear correlation between the -log EC50 values for AHH or EROD induction in cell culture and the -log ED50 values for enzyme induction, body weight loss and thymic atrophy in the rat. The in vitro enzyme induction data could be used to quantitatively estimate the toxicity of the PCDD congeners in the rat: this latter correlation has previously been observed for a series of polychlorinated dibenzofurans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 14 1986


  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins
  • Quantitative structure-activity relationships
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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