Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1978;4(1):60-65    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2722

Exposure of rabbits to styrene. Electronystagmographic findings correlated to the styrene level in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

by Larsby B, Tham R, Ödkvist LM, Hyden D, Bunnfors I, Aschan G

Objective methods for critically evaluating the toxic effect of industrial solvents are highly desirable. As many of these solvents are suspected to cause vertigo, an animal experimental model was set up for studying the effects of solvents on the vestibular systems. The vestibular function was studied by registration of involuntary eye movements--nystagmus--which are elicited via central vestibulo-oculomotor connections. During exposure to styrene a so-called positional nystagmus was demonstrated that indicated vestibular disturbances. Nystagmus is normally elicited by rotatory acceleration. During exposure to styrene the direction of this rotatory nystagmus was reversed. The incidence of the positional nystagmus correlated well with the blood level of the solvent, measured by gas chromatography. Kinetic studies also demonstrated a rapid equilibration between the level of the solvent in arterial blood and cerebrospinal fluid, and therefore suggested that estimation of the arterial level reliably indicates the level in the central nervous system.