Uptake, distribution and elimination of alpha-pinene in man after exposure by inhalation

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1990 Oct;16(5):372-8. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1771.


The toxicokinetics of alpha-pinene were studied in human volunteers exposed by inhalation (2 h, 50 W) in an exposure chamber on four occasions. The exposures were about 10, 225, and 450 mg/m3 (+)-alpha-pinene and 450 mg/m3 (-)-alpha-pinene. The relative pulmonary uptake was about 60% for the higher exposures, and total uptake increased linearly with increasing exposure. The total blood clearance was high, about 1.11.h-1.kg-1. After the exposure was terminated, less than 0.001% of the total uptake was eliminated unchanged in the urine and about 8% in exhaled air. A long half-time in poorly perfused tissues indicates a high affinity to adipose tissues. There was a statistically significant exposure-response relationship among five subjects who experienced irritation. Short-time exposure to alpha-pinene did not give rise to acute changes in lung function 20 min after the exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational*
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Monoterpenes*
  • Terpenes / pharmacokinetics*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Bicyclic Monoterpenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Terpenes
  • alpha-pinene