Extensive uses of methyltin compounds in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production have led to a dramatic increase of occupational-related methyltin poisoning accidents and the widespread contamination of methyltins in various environmental media. Here, we conducted studies to compare the acute toxicity induced by trimethyltin (TMT) and dimethyltin (DMT), and investigated the cumulative toxic effects of TMT in rats and mice. Neurobehavioral changes were observed in rats and mice treated with either DMT or TMT, but we also observed that both TMT and DMT exposure in rats significantly lowered the blood potassium level. Moreover, the cumulative toxic coefficient factor of TMT was 1.7 in rats versus 3.8 in mice, suggesting a high cumulative risk for rats and a moderate risk for mice. In summary, we demonstrated that acute and chronic exposure to methyltin compounds induced neurotoxicity and hypokalemia. Moreover, our study suggests that TMT can accumulate in the body and pose a risk for workers chronically exposed to a low dose of TMT.
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This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (30771786, 30972458 to Tang, X), Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (S2012020011009 to Tang, X) and by a startup fund (to Ren, X) provided by the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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