Formulation and characterization of an experimental PCB mixture designed to mimic human exposure from contaminated fish

Toxicol Sci. 2005 Dec;88(2):400-11. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfi338. Epub 2005 Sep 21.


Each environmental exposure matrix contains a unique mixture of PCB congeners. Since several congener types have multiple and distinct biological actions, it is important to characterize congener profiles in exposure sources. The Fox River Environment and Diet Study (FRIENDS) is assessing the human health effects of consumption of PCB-contaminated fish from the Fox River in northeastern Wisconsin. Concurrent laboratory studies required the formulation of a dosing solution which closely mimicked the human PCB exposure from fish. PCB congener profiles from Fox River walleye were compared to profiles for various theoretical mixtures having different relative percentages of Aroclors by weight. The theoretical mixture which provided the best approximation of the Fox River fish PCB profile contained 35% 1242, 35% 1248, 15% 1254, and 15% 1260. A PCB mixture was formulated to match this theoretical construct, and the congener profile for the mixture of Aroclors was determined by capillary column gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC/ECD). The relative percent of each congener was compared to the PCB congener profile of the theoretical Aroclor mixture and that for Fox River walleye. The specific congeners differed on average by 17% from the theoretical Aroclor mixture predicted values, and the specific congeners measured in the mixture were on average within 71% of those reported for Fox River fish. The mixture was found to have relatively low AhR activity but high RyR activity. Indirect comparisons suggest that in vivo toxicity was slightly greater than that for Aroclor 1254. This illustrates that Aroclor mixtures are useful for formulating dosing solutions which closely approximate actual environmental exposures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aroclors / analysis
  • Aroclors / chemistry
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Compounding
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Female
  • Fishes*
  • Food Contamination*
  • Fresh Water
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / metabolism
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity
  • Wisconsin


  • Aroclors
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls