Priming dose of phenylhydrazine protects against hemolytic and lethal effects of 2-butoxyethanol

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Protection against a high dose of a toxicant by prior exposure to another toxicant is called heteroprotection. Our objective was to establish a heteroprotection model in RBCs. Female Sprague Dawley rats treated with an LD90 dose of 2-butoxyethanol (BE, 1500 mg/kg in water, 5 ml/kg po) 14 days after priming with 0.9% NaCl suffered 90% mortality by 15 days, whereas all rats receiving the LD90 dose of BE 14 days after priming with phenylhydrazine (PHZ, 125 mg/kg in 0.9% NaCl, 3 ml/kg po) survived. Hematocrit decreased from normal 45% to 24% by day 3 after PHZ priming and improved thereafter. Increasing the time interval between the priming and LD90 dose to 21 days abolished the heteroprotection. RBCs obtained on days 7 and 14 after PHZ priming unlike those on day 21 were resilient to the hemotoxic metabolite of BE, butoxyacetic acid (BAA). Unaltered hepatic alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities upon PHZ priming suggested that bioactivation of BE to BAA was unaffected. Lower renal (6 and 12 h) and hepatic (12 h) BAA levels and 3 fold higher excretion of BAA in PHZ-primed rat urine suggested a protective role of toxicokinetics. Higher erythropoietin, reticulocytes, and resiliency of PHZ-primed rat RBCs indicated that newly formed RBCs are resilient to hemolytic BAA. The antioxidant levels in the PHZ-primed rat RBCs did not indicate a protective role in heteroprotection. In conclusion, the resistance of PHZ-primed rats against BE-induced hemotoxicity and lethality is mediated by a combination of altered toxicokinetics, robust erythropoiesis, and resiliency of new RBCs.

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