, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 313-328

Toluene-induced oxidative stress in several brain regions and other organs

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The in vivo dose-response relationship between toluene and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in rat brain, liver, kidney, and lung, and the time-course of these effects has been characterized. The rate of oxygen radical formation was measured using the probe 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescin diacetate. In vivo exposure to various doses of toluene (0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 g/kg ip) elicited a dose-dependent elevation of ROS generation within crude mitochondrial fractions obtained from rat lung and kidney, and within crude synaptosomal fractions from cerebellum. ROS formation in crude mitochondrial fractions from liver, and crude synaptosomal fractions from striatum and hippocampus, reached a maximum value at relatively low doses of toluene. Of the brain regions, the hippocampus had the highest induced levels of ROS. In vivo exposure to a single dose of toluene (1.5 g/kg ip), revealed that toluene-induced ROS reached a peak within 2 h, which correlated directly with measured toluene blood levels. This elevated oxidative activity was maintained throughout the next 24 h, even though blood values of toluene decreased to negligible amounts. These results demonstrate that exposure to toluene results in broad systemic elevation in the normal rate of oxygen radical generation, with such effects persisting in the tissues despite a rapid decline in toluene blood levels. Acute exposure to toluene may lead to extended ROS-related changes, and this may account for some of the clinical observations made in chronic toluene abusers.