Borghoff SJ, Wikoff D, Harvey S, Haws L. 2016. Dose- and time-dependent changes in tissue levels of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) and its sulfate and glucuronide conjugates following repeated administration to female Wistar Han Rats. Toxicol Rep 3:190-201. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2016.01.007
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a nongenotoxic flame retardant, causes uterine tumors in female rats. A proposed mode of action (MoA) for these tumors involves an increase in the bioavailability of estradiol as a result of TBBPA inhibiting estrogen sulfotransferases (ES), the enzymes responsible for inactivating and enhancing the elimination of estradiol. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dose and repeated administration of TBBPA on the level of TBBPA, TBBPA-glucuronide (GA) and TBBPA-sulfate (S) conjugates in plasma, liver and uterus of female Wistar Han rats administered TBBPA (50, 100, 250, 500 or 1000 mg/kg) for 28 consecutive days. In accordance with this objective, TBBPA sulfation was used as a surrogate for evaluating the potential for estradiol sulfation to be limited at high dose levels of TBBPA. Blood samples were collected at 4 and 8 h post-dosing on study day 7, 14, and 28, while liver and uterus were collected at the same time points following 28 days of dosing. Tissue samples were analyzed for TBBPA, TBBPA-GA and TBBPA-S by LC–MS/MS. A dose-related increase in the concentration of all three analytes occurred in plasma (day 7, 14, and 28) as well as liver and uterus tissue (day 28) at both 4 and 8 h post dose. The plasma concentration of TBBPA-GA and TBBPA-S was higher in animals dosed for 28 days compared to those dosed for 7 or 14 days showing an increase in systemic circulation of these conjugates with repeated administration. The balance of these conjugates was also different in tissues with TBBPA-S > TBBPA-GA at high doses in the liver and TBBPA-GA > TBBPA-S in both plasma and uterus. In all three tissues the ratio of TBBPA-S/TBBPA-GA showed a decreasing trend with dose, suggesting that at high TBBPA dose levels sulfation of TBBPA becomes limited. This effect was most apparent in the liver and plasma at 28 days of administration. Together these data show that administration of high doses of TBBPA associated with the induction of uterine tumors, results in a disruption in the balance of conjugates reflected by a decrease in the TBBPA-S/TBBPA-GA ratio. A limitation in the sulfation of TBBPA in vivosupports in vitro data defining TBBPA as an inhibitor of ES activity, thus providing further support that the proposed MoA occurs under conditions of high dose, chronic TBBPA administration to Wistar Han rats. Given that the uterine tumors observed in rats (250–1000 mg/kg-day) only occur at very high doses that perturb homeostatic control, it is unlikely such effects would occur in humans given that current TBBPA exposure levels are approximately eight orders of magnitude lower than these doses that are associated with exceeding the capacity of conjugation pathways in animal studies.