Formic acid excretion in rats and mice exposed to bromodichloromethane: a possible link to renal tubule cell proliferation in long-term studies

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Male F344 rats exposed to bromodichloromethane (BDCM) by gavage at 50 or 100 mg/kg/day for 5 days a week for 28 days excreted large amounts of formic acid in their urine, which was accompanied by a change in urinary pH. Male B6C3F1 mice exposed to BDCM at 25 or 50 mg/kg/day for 5 days a week for 28 days also excreted increased amounts of formic acid in their urine. In rats, formate excretion was dose and time dependant, being markedly elevated after four doses and remaining at that level after 3 weeks of dosing at 100 mg/kg/day BDCM, while at 50 mg/kg/day there was some suggestion of a decline after 3 weeks. In contrast, in mice formate excretion did not start to a major extent until 3 weeks of dosing, with the biggest response at 4 weeks. There was no increase in clinical chemistry markers of liver or kidney injury in either rats or mice following 28-day exposure to BDCM. However, morphological examination of the kidneys showed some mild renal tubule injury in two out of five rats exposed to 100 mg/kg/day BDCM. This was associated with a marked increase in cell proliferation in the renal cortex of all rats exposed to 100 mg/kg/day. No increase in cell proliferation was seen in the renal cortex of rats exposed to BDCM at 50 mg/kg/day, or in mice exposed to 25 or 50 mg/kg/day BDCM for 28 days. Long-term exposure to formic acid is known to cause kidney damage, suggesting that excretion of this acid may be a contributory factor to the increase in cell proliferation and kidney damage seen in the longer-term studies with BDCM.

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