Superfund sites that contain mixtures of aromatic and aliphatic solvents represent an undefined health hazard. After prolonged exposure to relatively high levels of certain aliphatic solvents (e.g. n-hexane, 2-hexanone), humans and animals develop a dose-dependent neurodegeneration that occurs clinically as a symmetrical peripheral neuropathy. This is triggered by the action of 2,5-hexanedione (1,2-diacetylethane), a 1,4-diketone (γ-diketone) metabolite that targets proteins required for the maintenance of neuronal (and testicular Sertoli cell) integrity. Certain aromatic solvents (1,2-diethylbenzene, 1,2,4-triethylbenzene) cause electrophysiological changes consistent with sensorimotor neuropathy in rodents, but the underlying mechanisms and pathogenesis are unclear. Our recent studies show that the o-diacetyl derivative and likely metabolite of 1,2-diethylbenzene, 1,2-diacetylbenzene, behaves as a neurotoxic (aromatic) γ-diketone of high neurotoxic potency. Rats treated with 1,2-diacetylbenzene develop limb weakness associated with proximal, neurofilament-filled giant axonal swellings comparable to those seen in animals treated with the potent 3,4-dimethyl derivative of 2,5-hexanedione. The blue chromogen induced by treatment with 1,2-diacetylbenzene is under study as a possible urinary biomarker of exposure to aromatic solvents (e.g. 1,2-diethylbenzene, tetralin) with neurotoxic potential. Development and validation of sensitive new biomarkers, especially for non-cancer endpoints, will aid in assessing the health risk associated with exposure to hazardous substances at Superfund sites.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
|Published - 2002
- Organic solvents
- Testicular toxicity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health