Scand J Work Environ Health 1978;4 suppl 2:163-168    pdf | Issue date: 1978

Acute biotoxic effect of styrene on rat liver. Correlation with enzyme-mediated mutagenicity of benzpyrene and acrylonitrile.

by Roberfroid M, Poncelet F, Lambotte-Vandepaer M, Duverger-Van Bogaert M, de Meester C, Mercier M

Styrene is commonly used in western Europe for the manufacture of plastics suitable for packaging foodstuffs. This report demonstrates that, injected intraperitoneally at a dose as low as 10 mg/kg, styrene modifies the catalytic properties of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase by reducing its KM value. A similar effect is reported for two potent chemical carcinogens, 3-methylcholanthrene and benzo(a)pyrene. Ethylbenzene and benzo(e)pyrene and phenobarbital do not produce the same effect. Pretreatments of the rats with chemicals which modify aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase also increase the capacity of the liver enzymes to activate benzopyrene to a mutagenic intermediate in vitro, as measured by the Ames test for mutagenicity. Exposure to both styrene and the other modifiers of the xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes could thus influence the carcinogenic and toxic effects of chemicals which are activated by these enzymes. This hypothesis needs further investigation.