Four-week inhalation exposures of rats to aerosols of three lubricant base oils

J Appl Toxicol. 1991 Aug;11(4):297-302. doi: 10.1002/jat.2550110412.


Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to aerosols of one of three base stocks used to formulate lubricating oils. These stocks were a solvent-refined oil (SRO), a hydrotreated and acid-washed white oil (WTO) and a severely hydrotreated and hydrocracked oil (HBO). Exposures were for 6 h per day, 5 days per week for ca. 4 weeks. There were four groups of rats for each study (10 per sex per group). Aerosol concentrations were ca. 0, 50, 210 and 1000 mg m-3 for each material; the mass median aerodynamic diameter was ca. 1 microns. Following the last exposure, all animals were sacrificed and necropsied. Samples were taken for serum chemistry, hematology, sperm morphology, weights of seven organs and histopathology on at least nine organs. Body weights and clinical signs were not affected by exposures. The only treatment-related changes were in the lung and associated lymph nodes. Both the wet weight of the lung and the dry/wet weight ratio increased in a concentration-related manner. Associated with the increased weight were accumulations of foamy alveolar macrophages, particularly in alveoli close to alveolar ducts. Mild infiltration by neutrophils was observed with WTO and SRO; thickened alveolar walls were noted with the highest concentration of HBO. These mild responses to exposures at very high concentrations indicate a low degree of toxicity for these aerosols.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Aerosols
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Oils / administration & dosage
  • Oils / toxicity*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Aerosols
  • Oils