PURPOSE: To obtain compounds that will effectively reduce the fixation of uranium in its main target organs: bone and kidney. There is an urgent need for a chelating agent that is suitable and available for human use. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The efficacy of ethane-1-hydroxy-1,1-bisphosphonate (EHBP), already in use as a therapeutic agent, was investigated in animal experiments. The effect of different treatment regimens was investigated on rats (EHBP: 50-100 micromol kg(-1); ligand/uranium ratio 2500 to 5000).
RESULTS: The present study shows that one prompt injection of EHBP reduced uranium deposition in kidneys by a factor of five after acute intramuscular contamination in rats. At the same time, the total body uranium in the treated animals was 70% of controls. When the treatment was delayed 30 min after contamination, the kidney content was still reduced by a factor of two.
CONCLUSIONS: EHBP has the advantage of clinical acceptance as a therapeutic agent for other purposes and its toxicity has been well studied. It therefore has a role in the treatment of human contamination with uranium.