Pulmonary toxicity of polyvinyl chloride particles after a single intratracheal instillation in rats. Time course and comparison with silica

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Our previous in vitro studies indicated that emulsion polyvinyl chloride (PVC) particles (PVC-E3), with a mean diameter of 2 μm, exhibited a moderate toxicity in different pulmonary cell cultures. The in vitro cytotoxicity and pro-inflammatory potential of PVC-E3 particles were reduced when the additives had been “washed off” (PVC-W3), indicating that PVC-particle associated toxicity is probably related to the residual additives. In the present study, male Wistar rats (230 ± 18 g) received a single intratracheal instillation of vehicle, crystalline silica particles [Min-U-Sil, 10 mg/kg body weight (BW)], PVC-E3 (10 or 50 mg/kg BW), or PVC-W3 (10 or 50 mg/kg BW). After 2, 7, 28, or 90 days, the rats were sacrificed (n = 6) and pulmonary injury and inflammation were determined by measuring lung weight, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and protein concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), differential BALF cell count, and histopathology. Silica exposure resulted in pulmonary inflammation and damage at all time points with a progressive deterioration. Exposure to high concentrations of PVC particles caused pulmonary inflammation and damage, which were similar to the silica-exposed group at 2 days, but at 90 days, most parameters had returned to the control level, except for minor histopathological lesions. PVC-E3 did not induce more damage than PVC-W3. Two days after exposure, PVC-W3 caused less neutrophil but more eosinophil influx than PVC-E3. Although the pulmonary toxicity of both PVC-E3 and PVC-W3 appeared limited, this in vivo study has not confirmed the conclusion from the in vitro toxicity tests that removal of residual additives reduces the toxicity of PVC-E3 particles.

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