Acute treatment with kerosene damages the dermal barrier and alters the distribution of topically applied benzo(a)pyrene in mice

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2011 Dec;8(12):701-8. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2011.626732.


The dermal route is important in many occupational exposures. Some materials may reduce the barrier function of the skin to enhance absorption and effect on internal organs. We have reported previously that kerosene cleaning following treatment with used engine oil increased DNA adduct levels in the lungs of mice compared with animals treated with used oil alone. To investigate what other physiological parameters might be affected by kerosene, we conducted in vitro and in vivo measurements of skin barrier function. We also topically applied (3)H-BAP(100 nM in 25 μL acetone) and washed half the mice with 25 μL kerosene 1 hr after carcinogen application. Groups of four mice were euthanized from 1 to 72 hr after treatment. Skin, lungs, and livers were harvested from each animal and stored separately. Kerosene application reduced the barrier function of the skin in vitro beyond the effect of the acetone vehicle and the vehicle plus BAP. In vivo studies indicated that kerosene treatment reduced the barrier function at 4 and 8 hr post application and that the barrier function recovered at 24 hr after a single treatment. The fraction of the radiolabel remaining in the skin of animals treated with (3)H-BAP and washed with kerosene was significantly less than those not washed, beginning at 24 hr (p< 0.05). Fractional distribution to the lungs and livers of these animals became significantly elevated at this time. Kerosene treatment compromises dermal barrier function and the ability of the skin to retain water, enhances carcinogen absorption, and alters organ distribution. This appears to contribute to the increase in BAP DNA adducts we reported earlier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / pharmacokinetics*
  • Carcinogens / pharmacokinetics*
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Kerosene / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Skin / drug effects*


  • Carcinogens
  • Kerosene
  • Benzo(a)pyrene