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Subchronic Oral Toxicity Study Of Furan In B6C3F1 Mice

S. Gill, M. Kavanagh, M. Barker, M. Weld, E. Vavasour, Y. Hou, G. M. Cooke

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Furan is a heterocyclic organic compound formed during heat treatment for processing and preservation of various types of food. Rodent studies have previously shown that furan is a hepatocarcinogen. Those studies were conducted over a high dose range, which induced tumors at nearly 100% incidence at all doses. This ninety-day gavage study in mice was conducted to extend the dose to a lower range (0.0, 0.03, 0.12, 0.5, 2.0, and 8.0 mg/kg body weight [bw] per day) to identify a no-observed adverse effect level for hepatotoxicity and to characterize non-neoplastic effects, including those affecting clinical biochemistry, hematology, tissue morphology, and histopathology. The liver was the primary target organ with dose-dependent toxicity. Liver weights were increased at the 8.0 mg/kg bw dose in females only. Levels of the serum enzyme alanine transaminase, representative of liver damage, were increased three-fold at the highest dose. Histological changes in the liver were observed at 2.0 and 8.0 mg/kg bw in both sexes. Although clinical parameters were also altered for the kidney, these differences were not accompanied by histological changes. Based on these clinical biochemical and histological changes, a no-observed adverse effect level of 0.12 mg/kg bw per day of furan in mice is suggested.