Developmental toxicity of prenatal exposure to toluene.

The AAPS journal (2006-07-01)
Scott E Bowen, John H Hannigan

Organic solvents have become ubiquitous in our environment and are essential for industry. Many women of reproductive age are increasingly exposed to solvents such as toluene in occupational settings (ie, long-term, low-concentration exposures) or through inhalant abuse (eg, episodic, binge exposures to high concentrations). The risk for teratogenic outcome is much less with low to moderate occupational solvent exposure compared with the greater potential for adverse pregnancy outcomes, developmental delays, and neurobehavioral problems in children born to women exposed to high concentrations of abused organic solvents such as toluene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, xylenes, and nitrous oxide. Yet the teratogenic effects of abuse patterns of exposure to toluene and other inhalants remain understudied. We briefly review how animal models can aid substantially in clarifying the developmental risk of exposure to solvents for adverse biobehavioral outcomes following abuse patterns of use and in the absence of associated health problems and co-drug abuse (eg, alcohol). Our studies also begin to establish the importance of dose (concentration) and critical perinatal periods of exposure to specific outcomes. The present results with our clinically relevant animal model of repeated, brief, high-concentration binge prenatal toluene exposure demonstrate the dose-dependent effect of toluene on prenatal development, early postnatal maturation, spontaneous exploration, and amphetamine-induced locomotor activity. The results imply that abuse patterns of toluene exposure may be more deleterious than typical occupational exposure on fetal development and suggest that animal models are effective in studying the mechanisms and risk factors of organic solvent teratogenicity.

Product Number
Product Description

Toluene, analytical standard
Toluene, anhydrous, 99.8%
Toluene, HPLC grade, 99.8%
Toluene solution, certified reference material, 5000 μg/mL in methanol