Observed and modeled effects of pH on bioconcentration of diphenhydramine, a weakly basic pharmaceutical, in fathead minnows
A need exists to better understand the influence of pH on the uptake and accumulation of ionizable pharmaceuticals in fish. In the present study, fathead minnows were exposed to diphenhydramine (DPH; disassociation constant = 9.1) in water for up to 96 h at 3 nominal pH levels: 6.7, 7.7, and 8.7. In each case, an apparent steady state was reached by 24 h, allowing for direct determination of the bioconcentration factor (BCF), blood–water partitioning (PBW,TOT), and apparent volume of distribution (approximated from the whole‐body–plasma concentration ratio). The BCFs and measured PBW,TOT values increased in a nonlinear manner with pH, whereas the volume of distribution remained constant, averaging 3.0 L/kg. The data were then simulated using a model that accounts for acidification of the gill surface caused by elimination of metabolically produced acid. Good agreement between model simulations and measured data was obtained for all tests by assuming that plasma binding of ionized DPH is 16% that of the neutral form. A simpler model, which ignores elimination of metabolically produced acid, performed less well. These findings suggest that pH effects on accumulation of ionizable compounds in fish are best described using a model that accounts for acidification of the gill surface. Moreover, measured plasma binding and volume of distribution data for humans, determined during drug development, may have considerable value for predicting chemical binding behavior in fish. Environ Toxicol Chem 2015;9999:1–11. © 2015 SETAC
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