Effects of white spirits on rat brain 5-HT receptor functions and synaptic remodeling

Henrik Rye Lam, P. Plenge, O.S. Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Previously, inhalation exposure to different types of white spirit (i.e. complex mixtures of aliphatic, aromatic, alkyl aromatic, and naphthenic hydrocarbons) has been shown to induce neurochemical effects in rat brains. Especially, the serotonergic system was involved at the global, regional, and subcellular levels. This study investigates the effects of two types of white spirit on 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) transporters (5-HTT), 5-HT2A and 5-HT4 receptor expression in forebrain, and on neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and 25-kDa synaptosomal associated protein (SNAP-25) concentrations when applied as indices for synaptic remodeling in forebrain, hippocampus, and entorhinal cortex. Male Wistar rats were exposed to 0, 400, or 800 ppm of aromatic (20 vol.% aromatic hydrocarbons) or dearomatized white spirit (catalytically hydrogenated white spirit) in the inhaled air for 6 h/day, 7 days/week for 3 weeks. The 5-HTT B-max and K-d were not affected. Both types of white spirit at 800 ppm decreased B-max for the 5-HT2A receptor. The aromatic type decreased the Kd of the 5-HT2A and 5-HT4 receptors at 800 ppm. Aromatic white spirit did not affect NCAM or SNAP-25 concentrations or NCAM/SNAP-25 ratio in forebrain, whereas NCAM increased in hippocampus and the NCAM/SNAP-25 ratio decreased in entorhinal cortex. Dearomatized white spirit did not affect NCAM, SNAP-25, or NCAM/SNAP-25 ratio in any brain region. The affected 5-HT receptor expression and synaptic plasticity marker proteins indicate that inhalation exposure to high concentrations of white spirit may be neurotoxic to rats, especially the aromatic white spirit type.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)603-608
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • synaptic remodeling
  • organic solvent effects
  • SNAP-25
  • neural cell adhesion protein
  • NCAM


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