Neuro-reproductive toxicities of 1-bromopropane and 2-bromopropane

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Abstract

2-Bromopropane was used as an alternative to chlorofluorocarbons in a Korean electronics factory and caused reproductive and hematopoietic disorders in male and female workers. This causality was revealed by animal studies, and target cells were identified in subsequent studies. After identification of 2-bromopropane toxicity, 1-bromopropane was introduced to the workplace as a new alternative to ozone-depleting solvents. 1-Bromopropane was considered less mutagenic than 2-bromopropane, but, in contrast, animal experiments revealed that 1-bromopropane is a potent neurotoxic compound compared with 2-bromopropane. It was also revealed that 1-bromopropane has reproductive toxicity, but the target cells are different from those of 2-bromopropane. Exposure to 1-bromopropane inhibits spermiation in male rats and disrupts the development of follicles in female rats, in contrast to 2-bromopropane, which targets spermatogonia and oocytes in primordial follicles. After the first animal study describing the neurotoxicity of 1-bromopropane, human cases were reported. Those cases showed decreased sensation of vibration and perception, paresthesia in the lower extremities, decreased sensation in the ventral aspects of the thighs and gluteal regions, stumbling and headache, as well as mucosal irritation, as the initial symptoms. The dose–response of bromopropanes in humans and mechanism(s) underlying the differences in the toxic effects of the two bromopropanes remain to be determined.