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Toxicity of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in hispid cotton rats Hematological, biochemical, and pathological effects

Toxicity of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene in hispid cotton rats Hematological, biochemical, and pathological effects

International Journal of Toxicology 19(3): 169-177

ISSN/ISBN: 1091-5818

The contamination of soil and water with munitions chemicals and their degradation products has been reported at certain munitions production waste disposal sites and at certain Army installations. The effects of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) on wild cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) were evaluated to identify target organ toxicity that could be used to develop biomarkers for exposure assessment for ecological and health risks. The oral LD50 values for TNT in corn oil were 607 and 767 mg/kg body weights for male and female cotton rats respectively. Hematological, pathological, and biochemical effects of TNT were determined after daily oral gavage of TNT in corn oil at doses of 0, 75.9, 151.8, and 303.5 (males) or 0, 96, 192, and 384 mg/kg (females) for 7 days. Cotton rats treated with TNT showed an increase in spleen weights in males (303.5 mg/kg) and in females (192 and 384 mg/kg). Cotton rats of both sexes treated for 7 days with TNT had marked hemolytic anemia with reduced erythrocytes, hemoglobin, and hematocrit in high-dose groups; methemoglobin levels were elevated significantly in males at mid and high dose. Hepatic drug metabolizing enzyme analysis revealed that microsomal O-dealkylation of methoxy, ethoxy, and pentoxy resorufin were elevated in male (high dose) cotton rats. The activity of hepatic glutathione S-transferases (GST) was significantly elevated in male (mid and high dose) and female (all doses) cotton rats exposed to TNT. Histopathological analysis of spleen revealed mild to marked splenic congestion with mild extramedullary hematopoiesis, hemosiderosis, and lymphoid hyperplasia in male and female cotton rats treated with TNT (all doses). Liver weights were increased in males (mid and high dose) and in females (high-dose group). In the high-dose groups, histological changes in liver (mild to moderate hepatocellular hypertrophy, increased hemosiderin pigment in Kupffer cells) in both sexes, and in testis (premature exfoliation of spermatozoa from dilated seminiferous tubules) were observed (mid and high dose). These results suggest that hepatic GST and hemolytic anemia may be biomarkers in cotton rats of terrestrial contamination with TNT or other nitroaromatic explosive compounds.

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