Biokinetic measurements and modelling of urinary excretion of cerium citrate in humans


Tracer kinetics in healthy human volunteers was studied applying stable isotopes of cerium citrate to obtain biokinetic human data for the urinary excretion of cerium. These data were then used to compare and validate the biokinetic model for lanthanides (cerium) proposed by Taylor and Leggett (Radiat Prot Dosim 105:193–198, 2003), which is substantially improved and more realistic than the biokinetic model currently recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP Publication 67, 1993); both models are primarily based on animal data. In the present study, 16 adults were investigated and two cerium tracers were simultaneously administered, both intravenously and/or orally. The cerium concentrations in urine were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Ingested cerium citrate was poorly absorbed, and its low excretion was similar to the prediction of the biokinetic model of Taylor and Leggett. In contrast, after injection of cerium citrate its urinary excretion was rapidly increased, and the model underestimated the experimental results. These results suggest that urinary excretion of cerium may be dependent on the administered chemical form of cerium (speciation).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Aeberhardt A, Nizza P, Remy J, Boilleau Y (1962) Etude comparee du métabolisme du cérium 144 en fonction de son état physico-chimique chez le rat. Int J Radiat Biol 5:217–246

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barrett PH, Bell BM, Cobelli C, Golde H, Schumitzky A, Vicini P, Foster DM (1998) SAAM II: simulation, analysis, and modeling software for tracer and pharmacokinetic studies. Metabolism 47:484–492

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bettinelli M, Spezia S, Terni C, Ronchi A, Balducci C, Minoia C (2002) Determination of rare earth elements in urine by electrothermal vaporization inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 16:579–584

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Böhlandt A, Schierl R, Diemer J, Koch C, Bolte G, Kiranoglu M, Fromme H, Nowak D (2012) High concentrations of cadmium, cerium and lanthanum in indoor air due to environmental tobacco smoke. Sci Total Environ 414:728–741

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Devell L, Tovedal H (1986) Initial observations of fallout from the nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl. Nature 321:192

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Durbin PW, Williams MH, Gee M, Newman RH, Hamilton JG (1956) Metabolism of the lanthanons in the rat. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 91:78–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gantt B, Hoque S, Willis RD, Fahey KM, Delgado-Saborit J, Harrison RM, Erdakos GB, Bhave PV, Max Zhang K, Kovalcik K, Pye HOT (2014) Near-road modeling and measurement of cerium-containing particles generated by nanoparticle diesel fuel additive use. Environ Sci Technol 48:10607–10613

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Giussani A, Cantone MC, Gerstmann U, Greiter M, Hertenberger R, Höllriegl V, Leopold K, Veronese I, Oeh U (2008) Biokinetics of ruthenium isotopes in humans and its dependence on chemical speciation. 12th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association. Buenos Aires, Argentina

  9. Gordon EE (1961) The metabolism of citrate-C14 in normal and in fluorinhibitor-poisoned rats. J Clin Investig 40:1719–1726

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Greiter MB, Giussani A, Höllriegl V, Li WB, Oeh U (2011) Human biokinetic data and a new compartmental model of zirconium—A tracer study with enriched stable isotopes. Sci Total Environ 409:3701–3710

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Hirano S, Suzuki KT (1996) Exposure, metabolism, and toxicity of rare earths and related compounds. Environ Health Perspect Suppl 104:85–95

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Höllriegl V, Gonzalez-Estecha M, Trasobares EM, Giussani A, Oeh U, Herraiz MA, Michalke B (2010) Measurement of cerium in human breast milk and blood samples. J Trace Elem Med Biol 24:193–199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. ICRP (1989) Age-dependent doses to members of the public from intake of radionuclides: Part 1: Ingestion dose coefficients. ICRP Publication 56. Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK

  14. ICRP (1993) Age-dependent doses to members of the public from intake of radionuclides: Part 2: Ingestion dose coefficients. ICRP Publication 67. Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK

  15. ICRP (2006) Human alimentary tract model for radiological protection. ICRP Publication 100. Elsevier, Oxford, UK

  16. ICRP (2015) Occupational intakes of radionuclides: Part 1. ICRP Publication 130. Pergamon Press, Oxford, UK

  17. Keiser T, Höllriegl V, Giussani A, Oeh U (2011) Measuring technique for thermal ionisation mass spectrometry of human tracer kinetic study with stable cerium isotopes. Isot Environ Health Stud 47:238–252

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Leggett RW, Ansoborlo E, Bailey M, Gregoratto D, Paquet F, Taylor DM (2014) Biokinetic data and models for occupational intake of lanthanoids. Int J Radiat Biol 90:996–1010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Linsalata P, Eisenbud M, Penna Franca F (1986) Ingestion estimates of Th and the light rare earth elements based on measurements on human feces. Health Phys 50:163–167

    Google Scholar 

  20. Nakamura Y, Tsumura Y, Tonogai Y, Shibata T, Ito Y (1997) Differences in behavior among the chlorides of seven rare earth elements administered intravenously to rats. Fundam Appl Toxicol 37:106–116

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. NCRP (1978) Physical, chemical, and biological properties of radiocerium relevant to radiation protection guidelines. NCRP Report 60. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, NCRP Publication, Washington, DC

  22. Ohyoshi A, Ohyoshi E, Ono H, Yamakawa S (1972) A study of citrate complexes of several lanthanides. J Inorg Nucl Chem 34:1955–1960

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Pitkevich VA, Duba VV, Ivanov VK, Chekin CY, Tsyb AF, Vakulovshi CM, Shershakov VM, Makhon KP, Golubenkov AV, Borodin RV, Kosykh VS (1996) Reconstruction of the composition of the Chernobyl radionuclide fallout and external radiation absorbed doses to the population in areas of Russia. Radiat Prot Dosim 64:69–92

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Pourmand A, Dauphas N (2010) Distribution coefficients of 60 elements on TODGA resin: application to Ca, Lu, Hf, U and Th isotope geochemistry. Tantala 81:741–753

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Rim KT, Koo KH, Park JS (2013) Toxicological evaluation of rare earths and their health impacts to workers: a literature review. Saf Health Work 4:12–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Spencer H (1963) Metabolism and removal of some radioisotopes in man. In: Diagnosis and treatment of radioactive poisoning. Proceedings of a scientific meeting held at Vienna (A), 15–18 October 1962, jointly organized by WHO and IAEA

  27. Stanek EJ, Calabrese EJ, Barnes R, Pekow P (1997) Soil Ingestion in adults-results of a second pilot study. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 36:249–257

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Taylor DM, Leggett RW (1998) A generic biokinetic model for the lanthanide elements. Radiat Prot Dosim 79:351–354

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Taylor DM, Leggett RW (2003) A generic biokinetic model for predicting the behaviour of the lanthanide elements in the human body. Radiat Prot Dosim 105:193–198

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Wappelhorst O, Kühn I, Heidenreich H, Markert B (2002) Transfer of selected elements from food into human milk. Nutrition 18:316–322

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Zhang ZY, Chai ZF (2004) Isotopic tracer studies of chemical behavior of rare earth elements in environmental and biological sciences. Radiochim Acta 92:355–358

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We gratefully thank Peter Grill for the ICPMS measurements, Marianna Lucio for statistical help, and Matthias Greiter and Augusto Giussani for intense discussions. This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with contract number 02NUK030A.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Vera Höllriegl.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Höllriegl, V., Li, W.B. & Michalke, B. Biokinetic measurements and modelling of urinary excretion of cerium citrate in humans. Radiat Environ Biophys 56, 1–8 (2017).

Download citation


  • Lanthanides
  • Tracer study
  • Biokinetics
  • Compartment models
  • Speciation