Journal Article

Conversion of Trichloroacetic Acid to Dichloroacetic Acid in Biological Samples

M.M. Ketcha, D.K. Stevens, D.A. Warren, C.T. Bishop and W.T. Brashear

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 20, issue 4, pages 236-241
Published in print July 1996 | ISSN: 0146-4760
e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI:
Conversion of Trichloroacetic Acid to Dichloroacetic Acid in Biological Samples

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Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been identified as an environmental contaminant in groundwater. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), dichloroacetic acid (DCA), chloral hydrate (CH), trichloroethanol (TCOH), and trichloroethanol glucuronide (TCOG) have been identified as metabolites of TCE. Studies have shown that TCA and DCA are toxicologically significant metabolites that can induce liver tumors in B6C3F1 mice. Methods for the analysis of these metabolites are important for conducting pharmacokinetic studies. In this study, TCA and DCA were derivatized to their methyl esters by dimethyl sulfate under acidic conditions and analyzed by gas chromatography with electron capture detection. In developing a method for esterifying TCA and DCA, the conversion of TCA to DCA was observed in freshly drawn blood upon the addition of acid. After blood was drawn from the animals, the amount of TCA converted to DCA by the addition of acid decreased with time. This conversion could be prevented by freezing blood samples overnight prior to the addition of acid. Further experiments demonstrated that this activity could be restored by the addition of dithionite to inactive blood samples or the addition of dithionite to methemoglobin prior to the addition of acid. The results reported here show that reduced hemoglobin may be involved in the acid-catalyzed conversion of TCA to DCA.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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