Immunological and Neurobiochemical Alterations Induced by Repeated Oral Exposure of Phenol in Mice
European Journal of Pharmacology
Phenol, a major metabolite of benzene, is a potentially immunotoxic and neurotoxic substance of environmental significance. Male CD-1 mice were continuously exposed to 0, 4.7, 19.5, and 95.2 mg phenol/l in drinking water for 4 weeks. Various immune functions were evaluated and levels of selected neurotransmitters and metabolites measured in discrete brain regions. The doses of phenol did not produce any overt clinical signs of toxicity; peripheral red blood cell counts and hematocrits decreased. A dose of 95.2 mg/l suppressed the stimulation of cultured splenic lymphocytes by lipopolysaccharide, pokeweed mitogen, and phytohemagglutinin and the response in mixed lymphocyte cultures. The two high doses suppressed antibody production response to the T cell-dependent antigen (sheep erythrocytes), as determined by plaque-forming cells, and serum antibody levels. Mice treated with phenol had lower levels of neurotransmitters in several brain regions. In the hypothalamus, a major norepinephrine-containing compartment, the concentrations of norepinephrine significantly decreased by 29 and 40% in groups dosed with 19.5 and 95.2 mg/l, while dopamine concentrations decreased in the corpus striatum by 21, 26, and 35% at 4.7, 19.5 and 95.2 mg/l, respectively. Phenol also decreased 5-hydroxytryptamine in the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, midbrain and corpus striatum. Levels of monoamine metabolites decreased in the hypothalamus (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid), midbrain (vanillylmandelic acid), corpus striatum (vanillylmandelic acid and dihydroxyphenylacetic acid), cortex (vanillylmandelic acid), and cerebellum (dihydroxyphenylacetic acid).
Hsieh, G.C., R.P. Sharma, R.D. Parker and R.A. Coulombe, Jr. (1992). Immunological and neurobiochemical alterations induced by repeated oral exposure of phenol in mice. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 228:107-114.