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Behavioral approaches to toluene intoxication.

Toluene is a chemical that is very useful in our lives but harmful to our health. Behavioral toxicology has the merit of providing an accurate indication of functional toxicity to the CNS through the analysis of learned behavior and use of behavioral analysis techniques that give us various learning paradigms for investigating the effects of chemicals on memory, stimulus discrimination, attention, time perception, etc. Learning is a common ability among various species and it is possible to predict toxicity to human health from animals. Behavioral toxicology is assumed to play an important role in occupational and environmental health. Using typical test batteries such as shuttle, Sidman, and pole-climb avoidance, and FI, FR, DRL, and DMS tasks, the effects of toluene were investigated and the results were reviewed. One important objective of a test battery is to be able to detect already-known toxicity. Behavioral toxicology research indicated such effects of toluene toxicity as hyperactivity, ataxia, addiction, insomnia, and memory disturbances. Some excellent results which might indicate clinically unknown effects of toluene such as hearing loss, impairments of time discrimination, and improvements of STM were also demonstrated. Introduction of blood and brain toluene levels as an index of toluene exposure and more sophisticated learning tasks which reflect specific higher nervous functions of the CNS has been proposed.[1]


  1. Behavioral approaches to toluene intoxication. Saito, K., Wada, H. Environmental research. (1993) [Pubmed]
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