The acute inhalation toxicity of 3-methylfuran (3MF) was investigated in male BALB c mice by morphologic examination of animals killed at varying timepoints following a 1-hr exposure to an initial chamber concentration of 14 to 37 μmol/liter (343 to 906 ppm). In addition, respiratory rate measurements and cell kinetics were used to assess quantitatively pulmonary damage and repair. Necrosis of nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial (Clara) cells was seen 1 day following exposure and was followed by regeneration, which was virtually complete, within 21 days. Cell kinetic studies showed peak bronchiolar cell proliferation at 3 days with a labeling index (LI) of 5.0% compared to 0.4% in controls. An increase in parenchymal cell proliferation was also noted coincident with a mild interstitial pneumonitis. This parenchymal proliferation, peaking at 10 days with an LI of 1.4% compared to 0.2% in controls, consisted primarily of type II epithelial and endothelial cell proliferation indicating possible delayed damage and repair of type I epithelial and endothelial cells. The respiratory rate showed an initial transient increase followed by a more prolonged decrease with eventual return to control levels. 3MF toxicity was also evidenced by a necrotizing suppurative rhinitis, centrilobular hepatic necrosis, lymphocyte necrosis in the thymus and spleen, sialoadenitis, and otitis media.
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