Effects of solvent exposure on testosterone levels and buturylcholinesterase activity in mice

Per Kjellstrand, M Bjerkemo, M Adler-Meihofer, Björn Holmquist

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In female and male mice the effect of exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) seen at the lowest concentration is an increase in liver weight. The activity of plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) increases even more than the liver weight at corresponding concentrations, but only in the males. Depletion of testosterone through castration or destruction of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, are the only other ways to experimentally induce corresponding increases in BuChE. Plasma BuChE activity increase was found to be a common reaction after exposure to TCE, perchloroethylene, chloroform, methylene chloride and carbon tetrachloride and also after exposure to ethanol. Other solvents such as toluene, xylene, benzene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane had little or no effect on BuChE activity. Normal and castrated male mice were continuously exposed for one month to 150 p.p.m. TCE. The increase in BuChE activity after the exposure was of the same magnitude as the increase seen after castration. BuChE activity in castrated males was not further increased by TCE exposure. Administration of testosterone with osmotic minipumps for 13 days almost restored the normal testosterone and BuChE levels in castrates. The effect of TCE exposure on BuChE activity in these animals was the same as on normal males. Testosterone levels were not influenced by the TCE exposure in normal males or in castrates given testosterone. No sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) could be detected in the mice. BuChE activity changes induced through solvent exposure are therefore neither directly nor indirectly (through SHBG) due to effects on testosterone. The results from these animal experiments do not support the epidemiological findings of decreased testosterone levels in humans exposed to solvents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-249
JournalActa Pharmacologica et Toxicologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1985

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Probability Theory and Statistics


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