The toxicokinetics and metabolism of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and their relevance for toxicity




Van den Berg, M.
De Jongh, J.
Poiger, H.
Olson, J.R.

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This article reviews the present state of the art regarding the toxicokinetics and metabolism of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs). The absorption, body distribution, and metabolism can vary greatly between species and also may depend on the congener and dose. In biota, the 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and PCDFs are almost exclusively retained in all tissue types, preferably liver and fat. This selective tissue retention and bioaccumulation are caused by a reduced rate of biotransformation and subsequent elimination of congeners with chlorine substitution at the 2,3,7 and 8 positions. 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDDs and PCDFs also have the greatest toxic and biological activity and affinity for the cytosolic arylhydrocarbon (Ah)-receptor protein. The parent compound is the causal agent for Ah-receptor-mediated toxic and biological effects, with metabolism and subsequent elimination of 2,3,7,8-substituted congeners representing a detoxification process. Congener-specific affinity of PCDDs and PCDFs for the Ah-receptor, the genetic events following receptor binding, and toxicokinetics are factors that contribute to the relative in vivo potency of an individual PCDD or PCDF in a given species. Limited human data indicate that marked species differences exist in the toxicokinetics of these compounds. Thus, human risk assessment for PCDDs and PCDFs needs to consider species-, congener-, and dose-specific toxicokinetic data. In addition, exposure to complex mixtures, including PCBs, has the potential to alter the toxicokinetics of individual compounds. These alterations in toxicokinetics may be involved in some of the nonadditive toxic or biological effects that are observed after exposure to mixtures of PCDDs or PCDFs with PCBs.


74 p.


toxicity effects, chemical pollutants, aromatic hydrocarbons