2001 Volume 26 Issue 5 Pages 299-311
The toxicities of 4-nitrophenol and 2,4-dinitrophenol in newborn and young rats was examined and the susceptibility of newborn rats was analyzed in terms of presumed unequivocally toxic and no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs). In the 18-day repeated dose newborn rat study, 4-nitrophenol was orally given from Day 4 to Day 21 after birth but did not induce any toxicity up to 160 mg/kg in the main study, although it induced death in one of six males at 160 mg/kg, and three of six males and one of six females at 230 mg/kg in a prior dose-finding study. In the 28-day repeated dose oral toxicity study starting at 6 weeks of age, 4-nitrophenol caused the death of most males and females at 1,000 mg/kg but was not toxic at 400 mg/kg except for male rat-specific renal toxicity. As unequivocally toxic levels were considered to be 230 mg/kg/day in newborn rats and 600 to 800 mg/kg/day in young rats, and NOAELs were 110 mg/kg/day in newborn rats and 400 mg/kg/day in young rats, the susceptibility of the newborn to 4-nitrophenol appears to be 2.5 to 4 times higher than that of young animals. In the newborn rat study of 2,4-dinitrophenol, animals died at 30 mg/kg in the dose-finding study and significant lowering of body and organ weights was observed at 20 mg/kg in the main study. In the 28-day young rat study, clear toxic signs followed by death occurred at 80 mg/kg but there was no definitive toxicity at 20 mg/kg. As unequivocally toxic levels and NOAELs were considered to be 30 and 10 mg/kg/day in newborn rats and 80 and 20 mg/kg/day in young rats, respectively, the toxicity of 2,4-dinitrophenol in newborns again seems to be 2 to 3 times stronger than in young rats. Abnormalities of external development and reflex ontogeny in the newborn were not observed with either chemical. Based on these results, it can be concluded that the toxic response in newborn rats is at most 4 times higher than that in young rats, at least in the cases of 4-nitrophenol and 2,4-dinitrophenol.