Fifteen polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDF) congeners were administered in a dose-response fashion to immature male Wistar rats and ED50 values for body weight loss, thymic atrophy and the induction of the hepatic microsomal cytochrome P-448-dependent monooxygenases, aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) and 4-chlorobiphenyl hydroxylase were determined. There was an excellent correlation between the in vivo quantitative structure-activity relationships for these PCDFs and their in vitro activities as AHH inducers in rat hepatoma H-4-II E cells and as ligands for the 2,3,7,8-TCDD receptor protein. A comparison of isomers which differ at all 4 positions in the dibenzofuran ring system indicated that chlorine substitution at each position contributed differentially to the overall molecular activity [C-3 (or C-7) > C-2(or C-8) > C-4 (or C-6) > C-1 (or C-9)]. There was also an excellent linear correlation between a plot of the -log ED50 for body weight loss vs. -log EC50 for in vitro AHH induction (correlation coefficient, r = 0.96) and -log ED50 for thymic atrophy vs. -log EC50 for in vitro AHH induction (correlation coefficient, r = 0.88). Since body weight loss and thymic atrophy in the rat are representative toxic responses to PCDFs and related toxic halogenated aryl hydrocarbons, the correlations noted above support the use of the in vitro AHH induction assay as a short quantitative test system for this class of toxic halogenated aryl hydrocarbons.
- Polychlorinated dibenzofurans
- Quantitative structure-activity relationships
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