The distribution and excretion of triethyllead and inorganic lead in rats have been studied after the intravenous administration of tetraethyllead, using a new method for separating triethyllead. Tetraethyllead was rapidly converted to triethyllead. The highest levels of triethyllead were found in the liver, blood, kidney, and brain. Twenty-four hours after the administration of tetraethyllead 50% of the total lead in the soft organs was in the form of triethyllead. Triethyllead concentration in vivo then remained steady for several days. Triethyllead was excreted in the faeces and urine at a rate equivalent to not more than 1% daily of the dose of tetraethyllead. Inorganic lead constituted the remainder of the lead in vivo from 24 hours after injection. Diethyllead was not found even shortly after administration of tetraethyllead. Diethyllead was fairly stable in vivo but less so than triethyllead. The metabolism of tetraethyllead takes place in two independent ways: one to the comparatively stable triethyllead ion, which is responsible for the toxic effects of tetraethyllead, and the other directly to inorganic lead.
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