Neurotoxicity of petroleum benzine compared with n-hexane
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Petroleum benzine is one of the mixtures of organic solvents containing n-hexane. The occurrence of polyneuropathy in the workers using petroleum benzines is attributed mainly to n-hexane, though other hydrocarbons present are also suspected of having some neurotoxicity or some potential which could modify the neurotoxicity of n-hexane. The present experiment was performed in order to clarify the toxicity of petroleum benzine to the peripheral nerve and compare it with that of n-hexane.
Forty rats were randomly divided into five groups. The groups were exposed to 200 ppm n-hexane, 500 ppm n-hexane, and petroleum benzine vapor containing 200 ppm n-hexane or 500 ppm n-hexane, together with aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons for 12 h a day for 24 weeks. The body weight, motor nerve conduction velocity, motor distal latency, and mixed nerve conduction velocities were measured before exposure and every 4 weeks of exposure. A rat from each exposed group was histopathologically examined after 24 weeks' exposure.
The function of the peripheral nerve was conspicuously impaired by 500 ppm n-hexane, slightly impaired by 200 ppm n-hexane and petroleum benzine containing 500 ppm n-hexane, and even less impaired by petroleum benzine containing 200 ppm n-hexane. Degenerations of the myelin sheaths and axons were demonstrated in all exposed groups upon examination of the raveled tail nerves. Thus, the experiment revealed that petroleum benzine could impair the peripheral nerves, while some components of petroleum benzine were considered to inhibit the neurotoxicity of n-hexane.
Key wordsPetroleum benzine n-Hexane Polyneuropathy Nerve conduction velocity Raveled nerve
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