Distribution of benzo[a]pyrene in pregnant rats following inhalation exposure and a comparison with similar data obtained with pyrene

J Appl Toxicol. May-Jun 1993;13(3):193-202. doi: 10.1002/jat.2550130310.


Eight pregnant rats were exposed, on the 17th day of gestation, for 95 min to a microcondensation aerosol of benzo[a]pyrene at five different atmospheric concentrations between 200 and 800 mg m-3 in a 'head-only' inhalation chamber. Five rats were killed immediately following the exposure and three were killed at 6 h post-dosing. Concentrations of the radiolabel and 'free' benzo[a]pyrene were measured in the individual fetuses and in the maternal blood, fat, kidney, liver and lung. Distribution to the fetus did not appear to be related to its position on the uterine horn and the uptake of benzo[a]pyrene was non-linear with increasing exposure concentrations, which was similar to the observations previously reported for pyrene. The levels of benzo[a]pyrene were much higher in the fetus and, especially, the lung than those observed in the pyrene study; so also were the levels of total metabolites in these tissues, which might, in part, account for the carcinogenic potency of benzo[a] pyrene.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / administration & dosage
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biotransformation
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pyrenes / administration & dosage
  • Pyrenes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Pyrenes
  • Benzo(a)pyrene