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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2019 Aug 1;376:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.05.016. Epub 2019 May 22.

Structure-activity study of acute neurobehavioral effects of cyclohexane, benzene, m-xylene, and toluene in rats.

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Departamento de Farmacobiología, Cinvestav, Sede Sur, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
Central Analítica, Departamento de Biotecnología y Bioingeniería, Cinvestav Zacatenco, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
Departamento de Farmacobiología, Cinvestav, Sede Sur, Ciudad de México, Mexico. Electronic address:


Toluene is a widely misused solvent that causes a variety of behavioral effects in both humans and animals. Preclinical and clinical research has provided evidence that toluene inhalation produces psychoactive effects similar to those caused by other Central Nervous System depressant drugs, but little is known about the consequences of inhaling solvents other than toluene that are also present in commercial products. As part of this research project, we studied the effects of hydrocarbon solvents chemically related to toluene on anxiety-like behavior, passive-avoidance learning, nociception, motor coordination and social interaction. We tested independent groups of adolescent male Wistar rats in the burying behavior task, step through avoidance learning task, hot plate test, shock threshold test, social interaction or rotarod tests after a 30 min exposure to either cyclohexane, benzene, toluene or m-xylene (2000 to 8000 ppm). Control animals breathed only air. Benzene, toluene and m-xylene produced anxiolytic-like actions, impaired learning, caused antinociception and decreased social interaction in a concentration-dependent manner. Locomotor coordination was impaired only with 8000 ppm m-xylene and 8000 ppm toluene. Cyclohexane had no effect on any of the behavioral tasks. Our data suggest that the aromatic ring is critical for solvents to produce a wide variety of behavioral effects.


Aromatic solvents; Behavioral effects; Benzene ring; Cyclohexane; Inhalants; Toluene


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