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Percutaneous penetration and metabolism of 2-butoxyethanol

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Faith Williams


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2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) is widely used as an industrial solvent, which may result in human dermal exposure within the workplace. This study compares in vivo and in vitro skin absorption of 2-BE using similar application regimes and determines the potential of skin to metabolise this chemical prior to entering the systemic blood circulation. Following topical application of undiluted [1-14C] 2-BE to occluded rat skin in vivo, 28% of the dose was absorbed after 24 h. The major routes of excretion included the urine (19%), expiration as carbon dioxide (6%) and faeces (0.4%) whilst little of the dose remained in the carcass (1.3%). Free 2-BE (0.5%), butoxyacetic acid (8%), glucuronide conjugate (3%), sulphate conjugates (0.7%) and ethylene glycol (0.6%) were detected in urine. Permeation rates of 2-BE through unoccluded rat dermatomed skin (16%) were greater than rat whole skin (8%) whilst absorption through human dermatomed skin (4%) was lower than the rat. Absorption of undiluted 2-BE through occluded rat dermatomed skin in vitro (18%) most accurately predicted absorption through rat skin in vivo. However, 2-BE absorption (23%) was enhanced by application in methanol. Distribution analysis and microautoradiography demonstrated the lack of 2-BE accumulation within the skin in vitro or in vivo. This was reflected in the absence of first pass metabolism of 2-BE during percutaneous penetration through viable human or rat skin in vitro or rat skin in vivo, despite rat skin cytosol having the potential to metabolise 2-BE. In conclusion, the in vitro system provided a reasonable estimate of dermal absorption in vivo for the rat. Therefore, by extrapolation of the comparative in vitro data for human and rat skin in vitro, dermal absorption of 2-BE in man was about one-fifth of that in the rat. However, the rapid penetration through skin in vitro prevented local metabolism and systemic exposure after skin contact with 2-BE in vivo was likely to be to the parent compound. Thus, in vitro skin systems can be used to model dermal absorption of volatile glycol ethers, to predict how much compound enters the circulation and allows the toxicologist to evaluate the body burden of a chemical and potential systemic toxicity. © Springer-Verlag 2004.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lockley DJ, Howes D, Williams FM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Archives of Toxicology

Year: 2004

Volume: 78

Issue: 11

Pages: 617-628

Print publication date: 01/11/2004

ISSN (print): 0340-5761

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0738

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00204-004-0581-0

PubMed id: 15455191


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