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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Urinary excretion of 2,5-hexanedione and peripheral polyneuropathies workers exposed to hexane.

Forty shoe factory workers who were exposed to hexane were investigated to see if there was a correlation between electroneuromyographic changes indicative of neuropathy and urinary excretion of 2,5-hexanedione. Urinary samples were analyzed for the presence of the metabolic products of n-hexane and its isomers. Electrodiagnostic examination was carried out following the urinary sampling. A rating scale was used to obtain a cumulative numeric index of electrodiagnostic findings. 2,5-Hexanedione and gamma-valerolactone were discovered in all cases, while 2-hexanol was found in 11 cases. 2,5-Hexanedione was the main metabolite in most cases (39 of 40). Only in 1 case was a low level of 2-methyl-2-pentanol detected; 3-methyl-2-pentanol was never detected. Metabolic products of cyclohexane were present in about one-fifth of the cases, while trichloroethanol, a metabolic product of trichoroethylene, was nearly always present, all at very low concentrations. Electromyographic abnormalities significant for early detection of toxic polyneuropathy were found in 14 cases. A statistically significant correlation of the electroneuromyographic scoring on the urinary concentrations of measured metabolites was observed only with 2,5-hexanedione and gamma-valerolactone, both derived from n-hexane. Since gamma-valerolactone is probably not a true metabolite of n-hexane, our results support the hypothesis that polyneuropathies in shoemakers are due to 2,5-hexanedione. For practical purposes the urinary concentration of 2,5-hexanedione can serve as a predictive measurement for early detection of neurotoxic lesions at preclinical states.[1]


  1. Urinary excretion of 2,5-hexanedione and peripheral polyneuropathies workers exposed to hexane. Governa, M., Calisti, R., Coppa, G., Tagliavento, G., Colombi, A., Troni, W. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. (1987) [Pubmed]
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