A novel preclinical model of environment-like combined benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) exposure: Behavioral and neurochemical findings


Environmental exposure to toxicants is a major health issue and a leading risk factor for premature mortality worldwide, including environmental exposures to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), specifically Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene (BTEX). While exposure to these compounds individually has shown behavioral and neurochemical effects, this investigation examined the impact of exposure to combined BTEX using a preclinical model. Male Swiss Webster mice were exposed to BTEX vapors designed to approximate environmental levels in urban communities. Animals were exposed to one of four treatment conditions: a 0-ppm, air control, two BTEX groups representing levels of environmental-like exposure, and a fourth group modeling occupational-like exposure. These exposures were conducted in 1.5-h sessions, 2 sessions/day, 5 days/week, for 3 weeks. Effects on coordination (i.e., rotarod and inverted screen test), learning and memory (i.e., Y-maze), and locomotor behavior (i.e., movement during exposure) were assessed during and after exposure. Monoamine levels in the medial prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens were assessed immediately following exposure. Effects of BTEX exposure were found on the variance of locomotor activity but not in other behavioral or neurochemical assessments. These results indicate that the combination of inhaled BTEX at environmentally representative concentrations has demonstrable, albeit subtle, effects on behavior.

Authors: Cameron J Davidson, D W Svenson, John H Hannigan, Shane A Perrine, Scott E Bowen
; Full Source: Neurotoxicology and teratology 2022 Feb 12;107076. doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2022.107076.