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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

The toxicity of the methylimidazolium ionic liquids, with a focus on M8OI and hepatic effects

Leitch, Alistair C.; Abdelghany, Tarek M.; Probert, Philip M.; Dunn, Michael P.; Meyer, Stephanie K.; Palmer, Jeremy M.; Cooke, Martin P.; Blake, Lynsay I.; Morse, Katie; Rosenmai, Anna K.; Oskarsson, Agneta; Bates, Lucy; Figueiredo, Rodrigo S.; Ibrahim, Ibrahim; Wilson, Colin; Abdelkader, Noha F.; Jones, David E.; Blain, Peter G.; Wright, Matthew C.


Ionic liquids are a diverse range of charged chemicals with low volatility and often liquids at ambient temperatures. This characteristic has in part lead to them being considered environmentally-friendly replacements for existing volatile solvents. However, methylimidazolium ionic liquids are slow to break down in the environment and a recent study at Newcastle detected 1 octyl 3 methylimidazolium (M8OI) - an 8 carbon variant methylimidazolium ionic liquid - in soils in close proximity to a landfill site. The current M8OI toxicity database in cultured mammalian cells, in experimental animal studies and in model indicators of environmental impact are reviewed. Selected analytical data from the Newcastle study suggest the soils in close proximity to the landfill site, an urban soil lacking overt contamination, had variable levels of M8OI. The potential for M8OI - or a structurally related ionic liquid - to trigger primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), an autoimmune liver disease thought to be triggered by an unknown agent(s) in the environment, is reviewed.


PBC; Ionic liquids; Liver; C8[mim]; Autoimmunity; Xenobiotics

Published in

Food and Chemical Toxicology
2020, Volume: 136, article number: 111069