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Neurotoxicity following acute inhalation of aerosols generated during resistance spot weld-bonding of carbon steel.

Sriram K; Jefferson AM; Lin GX; Afshari A; Zeidler-Erdely PC; Meighan TG; McKinney W; Jackson M; Cumpston A; Cumpston JL; Leonard HD; Frazer DG; Antonini JM
Inhal Toxicol 2014 Oct; 26(12):720-732
Welding generates complex metal aerosols, inhalation of which is linked to adverse health effects among welders. An important health concern of welding fume (WF) exposure is neurological dysfunction akin to Parkinson's disease (PD). Some applications in manufacturing industry employ a variant welding technology known as ''weld-bonding'' that utilizes resistance spot welding, in combination with adhesives, for metal-to-metal welding. The presence of adhesives raises additional concerns about worker exposure to potentially toxic components like Methyl Methacrylate, Bisphenol A and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here, we investigated the potential neurotoxicological effects of exposure to welding aerosols generated during weld-bonding. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed (25 mg/m3 targeted concentration; 4 h/day 13 days) by whole-body inhalation to filtered air or aerosols generated by either weld-bonding with sparking (high metal, low VOCs; HM) or without sparking (low metal; high VOCs; LM). Fumes generated under these conditions exhibited complex aerosols that contained both metal oxide particulates and VOCs. LM aerosols contained a greater fraction of VOCs than HM, which comprised largely metal particulates of ultrafine morphology. Short-term exposure to LM aerosols caused distinct changes in the levels of the neurotransmitters, dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT), in various brain areas examined. LM aerosols also specifically decreased the mRNA expression of the olfactory marker protein (Omp) and tyrosine hydroxylase (Th) in the olfactory bulb. Consistent with the decrease in Th, LM also reduced the expression of dopamine transporter (Slc6a3; Dat), as well as, dopamine D2 receptor (Drd2) in the olfactory bulb. In contrast, HM aerosols induced the expression of Th and dopamine D5 receptor (Drd5) mRNAs, elicited neuroinflammation and blood-brain barrier-related changes in the olfactory bulb, but did not alter the expression of Omp. Our findings divulge the differential effects of LM and HM aerosols in the brain and suggest that exposure to weld-bonding aerosols can potentially elicit neurotoxicity following a short-term exposure. However, further investigations are warranted to determine if the aerosols generated by weld-bonding can contribute to persistent long-term neurological deficits and/or neurodegeneration.
Welders; Welding; Metal-fumes; Metal-compounds; Aerosols; Inhalants; Inhalation-studies; Laboratory-animals; Animal-studies; Laboratory-testing; Exposure-assessment; Manganese-compounds; Adhesives; Methacrylates; Methyl-compounds; Phenols; Volatiles; Organic-compounds; Neurotoxic-effects; Metal-oxides; Fumes; Olfactory-disorders; Genes; Particulates; Biomarkers; Proteins; Neurotransmitters; Cellular-transport-mechanism; Brain-function; Brain-damage; Short-term-exposure; Author Keywords: Aerosols; manganese; neurotoxicity; occupational exposure; Parkinsons disease; volatile organic compounds; welding; welding fume
Krishnan Sriram, PhD, Toxicology and Molecular Biology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1095 Willowdale Road MS L-3014, Morgantown, WV 26505
7439-96-5; 80-62-6; 80-05-7; 51-61-6
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Inhalation Toxicology
Page last reviewed: June 10, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division