Cullen JM, Ward JM, Thompson CM. 2016. Reevaluation and classification of duodenal lesions in B6C3F1 mice and F344 rats from 4 studies of hexavalent chromium in drinking water. Toxicologic Pathol 44(2):279-89.
Thirteen-week and 2-year drinking water studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) reported that hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) induced diffuse epithelial hyperplasia in the duodenum of B6C3F1 mice but not F344 rats. In the 2-year study, Cr(VI) exposure was additionally associated with duodenal adenomas and carcinomas in mice only. Subsequent 13-week Cr(VI) studies conducted by another group demonstrated non-neoplastic duodenal lesions in B6C3F1 mice similar to those of the NTP study as well as mild duodenal hyperplasia in F344 rats. Because intestinal lesions in mice are the basis for proposed safety standards for Cr(VI), and the histopathology data are relevant to the mode of action, consistency (an important Hill criterion for causality) was assessed across the aforementioned studies. Two veterinary pathologists applied uniform diagnostic criteria to the duodenal lesions in rats and mice from the 4 repeated-dose studies. Comparable non-neoplastic intestinal lesions were evident in mice and rats from all 4 studies; however, the incidence and severity of intestinal lesions were greater in mice than rats. These findings demonstrate consistency across studies and species and highlight the importance of standardized nomenclature for intestinal pathology. The differences in the severity of non-neoplastic lesions also likely contribute to the differential tumor response.