NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Interactions of ketones and hexacarbons.

Veronesi B; Lington AW; Spencer PS
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Conference on Environmental Toxicology, Dayton, Ohio, November 15-17, 1983. Dayton, Ohio: Air Force Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, 1984 Aug; :25-39
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), a widely used commercial solvent, is frequently combined with other aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons in paint thinners, lacquers, and solvents for technical coatings (NIOSH, 1978). Although MEK itself is considered an innocuous compound, the above products can contain n-hexane and methyl n-butyl ketone (MnBK), which are known neurotoxic solvents. While MEK itself appears devoid of neurotoxic properties (Saida et al., 1976; Spencer and Schaumburg, 1976; Altenkirch et al., 1977; Egan et al., 1980), recent clinical and experimental findings indicate that this ketone can enhance the neurotoxic properties of both n-hexane and MnBK. This property was first suspected in the 1973 outbreak of occupational neuropathy among Ohio textile workers exposed to mixtures of MEK and MnBK (Allen et al., 1974; Billmaier et al., 1974) and later demonstrated experimentally in rats continuously exposed to these mixtures (Saida et al., 1976; Couri et al., 1977). MEK-related neurotoxic potentiation was again suspected in an outbreak of n-hexaneinduced neuropathy among solvent abusers (glue-sniffers, "huffers") in West Berlin (Altenkirch et al., 1977) and subsequently confirmed in rats exposed to high levels of both n hexane and MEK (Altenkirch et al., 1978). The picture emerging from these studies is that MEK appears to accelerate the onset and severity of the "dying-back" neuropathy produced by hexacarbons. The mechanism underlying this potentiation is unknown. It was our intention to replicate and investigate this interaction in tissue culture using organotypic explants of mouse spinal cord with attached dorsal root ganglia and striated muscle. At maturity, this complex displays morphological and bioelectrical features typical of mammalian neuromuscular tissues in vivo. This type of tissue culture has been used for many years in experimental neurobiology (Peterson and Crain, 1972) and neuropathology (Raine, 1973) and is amenable to neurotoxicological inquiries. It has been especially valuable in addressing the pathogenic and metabolic events of subchronic exposure to aliphatic hexacarbons (Veronesi et al., 1980, 1983).
Solvents; Paint-thinners; Toxicology; Toxicopathology; Toxic-materials; Toxic-vapors; Toxins; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-diseases; Occupational-health; Occupational-hazards; Animal-studies; Animals; Inhalation-studies; Inhalants; In-vivo-study; Organic-chemicals; Organic-compounds; Statistical-analysis; Laboratory-animals; Laboratory-testing; Hexanes; Ketones
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Amount
807725; 912712
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-00535; Grant-Number-R01-OH-00851
Priority Area
Neurotoxic Effects
Source Name
Proceedings of the Fourteenth Conference on Environmental Toxicology, Dayton, Ohio, November 15-17, 1983
Performing Organization
Yeshiva University, New York, New York
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division