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Behavioral and Neuronal Effects of Inhaled Bromine Gas: Oxidative Brain Stem Damage.


The risk of accidental bromine (Br2) exposure to the public has increased due to its enhanced industrial use. Inhaled Br2 damages the lungs and the heart; however, adverse effects on the brain are unknown. In this study, we examined the neurological effects of inhaled Br2 in Sprague Dawley rats. Rats were exposed to Br2 (600 ppm for 45 min) and transferred to room air and cage behavior, and levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in plasma were examined at various time intervals. Bromine exposure resulted in abnormal cage behavior such as head hitting, biting and aggression, hypervigilance, and hyperactivity. An increase in plasma GFAP and brain 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) content also was observed in the exposed animals. Acute and delayed sympathetic nervous system activation was also evaluated by assessing the expression of catecholamine biosynthesizing enzymes, tryptophan hydroxylase (TrpH1 and TrpH2), and tyrosine hydroxylase (TyrH), along with an assessment of catecholamines and their metabolites. TyrH was found to be increased in a time-dependent manner. TrpH1 and TrpH2 were significantly decreased upon Br2 exposure in the brainstem. The neurotransmitter content evaluation indicated an increase in 5-HT and dopamine at early timepoints after exposure; however, other metabolites were not significantly altered. Taken together, our results predict brain damage and autonomic dysfunction upon Br2 exposure.

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