Inhalation of Hydrocarbon Jet Fuel Suppress Central Auditory Nervous System Function

O'neil W. Guthrie, Brian A. Wong, Shawn M. McInturf, James E. Reboulet, Pedro A. Ortiz, David R. Mattie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


More than 800 million L/d of hydrocarbon fuels is used to power cars, boats, and jet airplanes. The weekly consumption of these fuels necessarily puts the public at risk for repeated inhalation exposure. Recent studies showed that exposure to hydrocarbon jet fuel produces lethality in presynaptic sensory cells, leading to hearing loss, especially in the presence of noise. However, the effects of hydrocarbon jet fuel on the central auditory nervous system (CANS) have not received much attention. It is important to investigate the effects of hydrocarbons on the CANS in order to complete current knowledge regarding the ototoxic profile of such exposures. The objective of the current study was to determine whether inhalation exposure to hydrocarbon jet fuel might affect the functions of the CANS. Male Fischer 344 rats were randomly divided into four groups (control, noise, fuel, and fuel + noise). The structural and functional integrity of presynaptic sensory cells was determined in each group. Neurotransmission in both peripheral and central auditory pathways was simultaneously evaluated in order to identify and differentiate between peripheral and central dysfunctions. There were no detectable effects on pre- and postsynaptic peripheral functions. However, the responsiveness of the brain was significantly depressed and neural transmission time was markedly delayed. The development of CANS dysfunctions in the general public and the military due to cumulative exposure to hydrocarbon fuels may represent a significant but currently unrecognized public health issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1169
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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