Developmental neurotoxicity of methanol exposure by inhalation in rats.

B. Weiss, S. Stern, S. C. Soderholm, C. Cox, A. Sharma, G. B. Inglis, R. Preston, M. Balys, K. R. Reuhl, R. Gelein

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6 Scopus citations


The possibility of widespread methanol exposure via inhalation stemming from its adoption as an automotive fuel or fuel component arouses concerns about the potential vulnerability of the fetal brain. This project was designed to help address such concerns by studying the behavior of neonate and adult rats following perinatal exposure to methanol vapor. Four cohorts of pregnant Long-Evans hooded rats, each cohort consisting of an exposure and a control group, were exposed to 0 parts per million (ppm) (control) or 4,500 ppm methanol vapor for six hours daily beginning on gestation day (GD) 6 with dams and pups then being exposed postnatal day (PND) 21. Exposures took place in 2-m3 Rochester-type inhalation chambers while the animals remained in their plastic breeder cages. Prenatal and postnatal blood methanol concentrations were determined by gas chromatography. Blood methanol concentrations of the dams, measured immediately following a six-hour exposure, were approximately 500 to 800 micrograms/mL throughout gestation and lactation. Average blood methanol concentrations of the pups were about twice those of the dams. Because such results appeared consistently across the other cohorts, we decided to obtain additional data with Cohort 4. Once it had undergone the standard exposure protocol, we selected sets of extra pups from those that had not been assigned previously to the adult phase of behavioral testing. Each set was exposed once, at ages that extended out to PND 52, for one additional six-hour session of exposure to 4,500 ppm methanol. The blood methanol concentrations of these pups declined until about PND 48, at which time they approximated those of the dams. These findings might be accounted for by a process of metabolic maturation in the pups that remains to be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-64; discussion 65-6470
JournalResearch report (Health Effects Institute)
Issue number73
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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