This study aimed to clarify the subacute pulmonary and testicular inhalation toxicity of diborane (B2H6, CAS: 19287-45-7) in rats. Male Wistar rats were exposed for 8 weeks to 0.11 or 0.96 ppm of diborane for 6 hr/day, 5 days/week. The control group was exposed to filtered air. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALE), hematological, biochemical, and histopathological examinations were conducted. Sperm counts and spermatic morphological changes were examined in epididymides, and histopathological examination was carried out in testes. BALF examinations revealed that the percentage of neutrophils increased in a dose-dependent manner and that of macrophages decreased in rats exposed to 0.96 ppm. Quantities of total and individual phospholipids in BALF increased in rats exposed to 0.96 ppm. The proportion of phosphatidylglycerol plus sphingomyelin decreased, and phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol increased in rats exposed to 0.96 ppm. LDH increased in rats exposed to 0.96 ppm, and ALP showed a dose-dependent increase. In serum, α1-antitrypsin and superoxide dismutase activities increased in rats exposed to 0.11 or 0.96 ppm. These changes showed dose-dependent effects on the lung in rats exposed to diborane, possibly indicating that the hyperenergia of type II cells with proliferation and/or hypertrophy without histopathological changes occurred even in rats exposed to 0.11 ppm. Testicular examinations revealed no particular findings. The TLV-TWA of diborane (0.1 ppm) seems to be high and possibly unsafe, considering that the no-observed-effect level over 8 weeks for rat lung was under 0.11 ppm.
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