In this work, quantitative structure–activity relationships (QSARs) were developed to aid human and environmental risk assessment processes for brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Brominated flame retardants, such as the high-production-volume chemicals polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), tetrabromobisphenol A, and hexabromocyclododecane, have been identified as potential endocrine disruptors. Quantitative structure–activity relationship models were built based on the in vitro potencies of 26 selected BFRs. The in vitro assays included interactions with, for example, androgen, progesterone, estrogen, and dioxin (aryl hydrocarbon) receptor, plus competition with thyroxine for its plasma carrier protein (transthyretin), inhibition of estradiol sulfation via sulfotransferase, and finally, rate of metabolization. The QSAR modeling, a number of physicochemical parameters were calculated describing the electronic, lipophilic, and structural characteristics of the molecules. These include frontier molecular orbitals, molecular charges, polarities, log octanol/water partitioning coefficient, and two- and three-dimensional molecular properties. Experimental properties were included and measured for PBDEs, such as their individual ultraviolet spectra (200–320 nm) and retention times on three different high-performance liquid chromatography columns and one nonpolar gas chromatography column. Quantitative structure–activity relationship models based on androgen antagonism and metabolic degradation rates generally gave similar results, suggesting that lower-brominated PBDEs with bromine substitutions in ortho positions and bromine-free meta- and para positions had the highest potencies and metabolic degradation rates. Predictions made for the constituents of the technical flame retardant Bromkal 70-5DE found BDE 17 to be a potent androgen antagonist and BDE 66, which is a relevant PBDE in environmental samples, to be only a weak antagonist.
2007. Vol. 26, no 4, 816-26 p.