Trichloroethylene undergoes extensive first pass metabolism after oral administration (Köppel et al., 1988). It is principally metabolised in the liver (a small amount may be metabolised in other tissues) by two competing pathways - oxidation by cytochrome P450 and conjugation with glutathione.

Chloral hydrate is produced as an intermediary metabolite and the major urinary metabolites are trichloroacetic acid and trichloroethanol (which appears largely as a glucuronide conjugate urochloralic acid) (Baselt, 2000). Glutathione conjugation of trichloroethylene also leads to the formation of N-acetyl-S-(1,2-dichlorovinyl)-L-cysteine and N-acetyl-S-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-L-cysteine which can be detected in urine. Other urinary metabolites include chloroacetic acid and dichloroacetic acid (Brüning et al., 1998).

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