Diazoaminobenzene is used as an intermediate, complexing agent, and polymer additive. It is also an impurity in certain color additives used in cosmetics, food products, and pharmaceuticals. Diazoaminobenzene was selected for metabolism and toxicity studies based on the potential for worker exposure from its use in laboratories, positive Salmonella typhimurium gene mutation data, its presence as an impurity in foods and cosmetics, and the lack of adequate toxicity data. Several structural analogues and presumed metabolites of diazoaminobenzene are carcinogenic, providing evidence for the possible carcinogenicity of diazoaminobenzene. The chemical structure of diazoaminobenzene suggested that it would be metabolized into aniline and benzene; therefore, metabolism and disposition studies were performed in male and female F344/N rats and male B6C3F1 mice administered a single oral, dermal, or intravenous dose of diazoaminobenzene. Electron spin resonance (ESR) studies were conducted to assess the possible formation of a phenyl radical from the reduction of diazoaminobenzene by components of the cytochrome P450 mixed-function oxidase (P450) system in microsomes or by gut microflora in anaerobic cecal incubations. Bile duct-cannulated male F344/N rats were administered diazoaminobenzene and 5,5-dimethyl-1- pyrroline-N-oxide (DMPO) for in vivo determination of the DMPO-phenyl radical. 16-Day toxicity studies were performed to identify target organs of diazoaminobenzene following dermal application to male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice.
In the disposition and metabolism studies, oral doses of 20 mg/kg to male and female rats and male mice were readily absorbed and excreted mainly in the urine, with exhalation of volatile organics accounting for about 1% of the dose. The only volatile metabolite detected in the breath was benzene, and all the metabolites in the urine were those previously shown to result from the metabolism of benzene and aniline in rats and mice. While dermal doses to rats and mice (2 and 20 mg/cm2) were only slightly absorbed, benzene and aniline metabolites were nonetheless detected in the urine. High circulating levels of benzene, aniline, and their metabolites were detected in the blood of rats administered 20 mg/kg diazoaminobenzene as early as 15 minutes after exposure. At 24 hours after dosing, diazoaminobenzene was detected at low levels (<1%) in the adipose tissue, blood, kidney, liver, muscle, skin, and spleen. Metabolites of benzene and aniline were also formed in an in vitro study using human liver slices.
In the ESR spin-trapping experiments, the ESR spectrum of the DMPO-phenyl radical was detected when diazoaminobenzene was incubated with microsomes or P450 reductase, DMPO, and NADPH, or when incubated with cecal contents and DMPO. The DMPO-phenyl radical spectrum was not attenuated by the P450 inhibitor, 1-aminobenzotriazole, or carbon monoxide suggesting that P450s were not required. In in vivo experiments in which rats were administered diazoaminobenzene and DMPO, the DMPO-phenyl radical adduct was detected in bile within 1 hour after treatment.
In the 16-day toxicity studies, groups of five male and five female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice received dermal applications of 0, 12.5, 25, 50, 100, or 200 mg diazoaminobenzene/kg body weight. Animals were evaluated for absolute and relative organ weights, for hematological effects, and for gross and microscopic lesions. No mortality occurred in rats. However, most male mice exposed to concentrations of 50 mg/kg or greater and female mice exposed to 200 mg/kg died. Body weights of male and female rats and female mice were less than those of the vehicle controls. Similar chemical-related toxicities were observed in both species. Clinical pathology data indicated a chemical-related methemoglobinemia and Heinz body formation in male and female rats and mice. Analysis of organ weights indicated possible chemical-related effects in the thymus, heart, spleen, kidney, and liver of rats and/or mice. Increases in the incidences of several skin lesions, including hyperplasia of the epidermis and hair follicles, and inflammation in rats and mice and ulceration in female mice were observed. Other nonneoplastic lesions that were considered to be related to diazoaminobenzene administration were atrophy of the thymus, mandibular and/or mesenteric lymph nodes, and white pulp of the spleen, as well as splenic hematopoietic cell proliferation in rats and mice. In mice, there were increased incidences of atrial thrombosis, and necrosis was observed in the renal tubules and liver.
Diazoaminobenzene was mutagenic in S. typhimurium strains TA98, TA100, and TA1537 with induced rat or hamster liver S9 enzymes; no activity was noted in strain TA1535, with or without S9. In vivo, two gavage administrations of either diazoaminobenzene or benzene induced highly significant increases in micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes in bone marrow of male B6C3F1 mice at all doses tested.
Diazoaminobenzene is metabolized to the known carcinogens benzene and aniline. Further evidence of this metabolism is that some toxic effects associated with aniline (methemoglobinemia) and benzene (atrophy of the lymphoid tissue) were identified. Based on these results, it is predicted that diazoaminobenzene is a carcinogen.