Biological relevance of effects following chronic administration of octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) in Fischer 344 rats

Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) is a cyclic siloxane primarily used as a monomer or intermediate in the production of silicone polymers resulting in potential exposure of workers, and potential low level inhalation or dermal exposure for consumers and the general public. Following a two-year inhalation toxicity study with D4 in rats, increases in uterine endometrial cystic hyperplasia and adenomas were observed at the highest concentration of D4 administered (700 ppm). No other neoplasms were increased with D4 treatment. In addition, chronic inhalation exposure of rats to D4 induced changes in relative liver and kidney weights, and produced a chronic nephropathy. This manuscript examines the biological relevance and possible modes of action for the effects observed in the F344 rat following chronic inhalation exposure to D4. D4 is not genotoxic and appears to exert its effects through a nongenotoxic mode of action. An alteration in the estrous cycle in the aging F344 rat was the most likely mode of action for the observed uterine effects following chronic inhalation exposure. Data support the conclusion that D4 acts indirectly via a dopamine-like mechanism leading to alteration of the pituitary control of the estrous cycle in aging F344 rats with a decrease in progesterone and an increase in the estrogen/progesterone ratio most likely induced by a decrease in prolactin concentration. D4 also inhibited the pre-ovulatory LH surge causing a delay in ovulation, persistent follicles and thus a prolonged exposure to elevated estrogen in the adult Sprague Dawely rat. A lengthening of the estrous cycle in the F344 rat with an increase in endogenous estrogen was also induced by D4 inhalation. Although the mode of action responsible for induction of uterine adenomas in the female F344 rat has not been clearly confirmed, the subtlety of effects on the effects of D4 on cyclicity may prevent further assessment and definition of the mode of action. The occurrence of uterine endometrial adenoma in the rat is not relevant for human risk characterization because (1) there are differences in ovulatory cycle regulation in rats compared to humans, (2) cystic hyperplasia without atypia in women is not a cancer precursor, and (3) there is no endometrial lesion in women that is directly analogous to endometrial adenoma in the rat. The effects of D4 on liver are due to a phenobarbital-like mechanism that results in induction of cytochrome P450 and other enzymes of xenobiotic biotransformation. The liver effects are adaptive and not adverse. Kidney findings included chonic progressive nephropathy, a rat lesion that has no counterpart in the human and that should not be used in human risk assessment.

Publication Date:
Jan 18 2017
Date Submitted:
Nov 21 2018
Toxicology letters
279 Suppl 1

Note: The status of this file is: public

 Record created 2018-11-21, last modified 2019-04-03

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