Authors: J.F. Murray,
Journal: Biological Trace Element Research
Abstract: The pharmacokinetics of boric acid (BA) have been studied in animals and humans. Orally administered BA is readily and completely absorbed in rats, rabbits, and humans, as well as other animal species. In animals and humans, absorbed BA appears to be rapidly distributed throughout the body water via passive diffusion. Following administration of BA, the ratio of blood:soft tissue concentrations of boron (B) is approx 1.0 in rats and humans; in contrast, concentrations of B in bone exceed those in blood by a factor of approx 4 in both rats and humans. In rats, adipose tissue concentrations of B are only 20% of the levels found in blood and soft tissues; however, human data on adipose tissue levels are not available. BA does not appear to be metabolized in either animals or humans owing to the excessive energy required to break the B–O bond. BA has an affinity for cis-hydroxy groups, and it has been hypothesized to elicit its biological activity through this mechanism. The elimination kinetics of BA also appear to be similar for rodents and humans. BA is eliminated unchanged in the urine. The kinetics of elimination were evaluated in human volunteers given BA orally or intravenously; the half-life for elimination was essentially the same (approx 21 h) by either route of exposure. In rats, blood and tissue levels of B reached steady-state after 3-4 d of oral administration of BA; assuming first-order kinetics, a half-life of 14-19 h may be calculated. The lack of metabolism of BA eliminates metabolic clearance as a potential source of interspecies variation. Accordingly, in the absence of differences in metabolic clearance, renal clearance is expected to be the major determinant of interspecies variation in pharmacokinetics. Because glomerular filtration rates are slightly higher in rats than in humans, the slight difference in half-lives may be readily explained. The most sensitive toxicity end point for BA appears to be developmental toxicity in rats, with a No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) and Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level (LOAEL) of 55 and 76 mg BA/kg/d, respectively. Mean blood B levels in pregnant rats on gestation day 20 in the pivotal developmental toxicity study were reported to be 1.27 and 1.53 mcg B/g at the NOAEL and LOAEL, respectively. Blood B concentrations in humans are well below these levels. Average blood B levels in the most heavily exposed worker population at a borate mine was 0.24 mcg B/mL, and the estimated daily occupational exposure was equivalent to 160 mg BA/d. Blood B levels in the general population generally range from 0.03 to 0.09 mcg B/mL. These blood B values indicate an ample margin of safety for humans. In summary, the pharmacokinetics of BA in humans and rodents are remarkably similar, and interspecies differences in pharmacokinetics appear to be minimal.
Authors: J.F. Murray,