Effects of chronic alcohol consumption on dermal penetration of pesticides in rats

R. M. Brand, A. R. Charron, L. Dutton, T. L. Gavlik, C. Mueller, F. G. Hamel, D. Chakkalakal, T. M. Donohue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Topically applied ethanol is a well-known dermal penetration enhancer. The purpose of this work was to determine if ethanol consumption might also increase transdermal penetration. Male rats were fed either an ethanol containing or control diet for 6-8 wk. After the feeding regime was completed, skin was removed and placed in an in vitro diffusion system. The transdermal absorption of four very commonly used herbicides was determined. Penetration through skin from ethanol-fed rats was enhanced when compared to control by a factor of 5.3 for paraquat, 2.4 for atrazine, and 2.2 for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), and reduced by a factor 0.6 for trifluralin. Comparison of physical factors of the herbicides to the penetration enhancement revealed an inverse linear correlation with lipophilicity, as defined by log octanol/water partition coefficient (log K ow) with r2=.98. These changes were at least partially reversible after 1 wk of abstinence from ethanol. These experiments demonstrate that regular ethanol consumption can alter the properties of the dermal barrier, leading to increased absorption of some chemicals through rat skin. If ethanol consumption has the same effect on human skin it could potentially have adverse health effects on people regularly exposed to agricultural, environmental, and industrial chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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