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Neurotoxicology. 2015 May;48:50-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2015.03.005. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Neurobehavioral and neurophysiological effects after acute exposure to a single peak of 200 ppm toluene in healthy volunteers.

Author information

1
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Ardeystr. 67, D-44139 Dortmund, Germany. Electronic address: kobald@ifado.de.
2
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Ardeystr. 67, D-44139 Dortmund, Germany. Electronic address: wascher@ifado.de.
3
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Ardeystr. 67, D-44139 Dortmund, Germany. Electronic address: blaszkewicz@ifado.de.
4
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Ardeystr. 67, D-44139 Dortmund, Germany. Electronic address: golka@ifado.de.
5
Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Ardeystr. 67, D-44139 Dortmund, Germany. Electronic address: thriel@ifado.de.

Abstract

The solvent toluene has neurotoxic properties that are especially relevant in the working environment. Short-term exposure limits (STELs) vary from 50 ppm up to 300 ppm across countries but their acute effects remain elusive in humans. Several in vitro and in vivo studies elucidated that toluene acutely acts by perturbations of different neurotransmitter systems. More specifically visual evoked potentials (VEPs) of rats are decreased after acute toluene exposure, leading to the assumption that particularly visual attention processes might be a target of toluene in humans. Therefore a visual change detection task was applied to measure both neurobehavioral and neurophysiological effects by using electroencephalography (EEG) after a single peak exposure to 200 ppm toluene. Performance and event-related components of the EEG were examined before and after exposure in a toluene-exposed and a control group. Thirty-three young healthy volunteers participated in this study. The behavioral results of the experiment indicate that toluene impairs the rate of correct responses especially in task conditions in which an irrelevant distractor is given, while the response times did not differ between both groups. The neurophysiological findings hint toward a less efficient visual processing of behaviorally relevant stimuli and an increased distractibility by irrelevant distractors. Thus the present results are a promising starting point for further research specifically targeting visual attention after toluene exposure and the reconsideration of the presently very heterogeneous STELs.

KEYWORDS:

Acute solvent neurotoxicity; Event-related potentials; Short-term exposure limits; Toluene; Visual attention

PMID:
25770824
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuro.2015.03.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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