The placental transport and localization in fetal and maternal tissues of 14C-BHA isomers, 2-t-[methyl-14C]butyl-4-hydroxyanisole (2-BHA) and 3-t-[methyl-14C]butyl-4-hydroxyanisole (3-BHA), were studied in pregnant mice by whole-body autoradiography techniques. BHA isomers were given (iv 50 μCi/100 g as a tracer dose) to pregnant mice at Day 11 (organogenesis) and Day 18 (postorganogenesis) of gestation. Peak levels of radioactivity occurred in various tissues 1-4 hr after iv administration of both isomers. 3-BHA and its metabolites have a higher affinity to fatty tissues and livers of pregnant mice. The concentration of radiocarbon in maternal liver and brown fat following treatment with 14C-3-BHA was much higher than the radioactivity concentration in the corresponding tissues of mothers treated with 2-BHA. On the other hand, the fetal concentration of radioactivity was higher in animals treated with 2-BHA than in those treated with 3-BHA. The radioactivity derived from both isomers accumulated in the fetal gastrointestinal tract. In both groups the radioactivity accumulated in the maternal nasal cavity and mucosa and the gastrointestinal contents. At 24 hr after treatment, retention of radioactivity in maternal lungs, amniotic fluid, and fetal gastrointestinal tissues was observed. Results from this study indicate that there are differences in the magnitude and extent of placental transport of 3-BHA and 2-BHA. Differences also exist in maternal organ uptake and radioactivity distribution of both isomers. Findings from this study are consistent with pharmacological differences existing between the isomers.
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