Occupational prolonged organic solvent exposure in shoemakers: brain MR spectroscopy findings

Magn Reson Imaging. 2004 Jun;22(5):707-13. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2004.01.070.


Our purpose was to investigate, by magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy, the metabolite changes in the brains of subjects in the shoemaking industry who had been chronically exposed to organic solvents. A total of 49 male subjects and 30 age-matched healthy volunteers underwent detailed neurological and psychiatric examinations. All subjects had long-echo [repetition time (TR) 2000 ms, echo time (TE) 136 ms] single-voxel MR spectroscopy. Voxels (15 x 15 x 15 mm(3)) were placed in the parietal white matter, thalamus, and basal ganglia. N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/creatine (Cr) and choline (Cho)/Cr ratios were calculated. There was no significant difference between the study subjects and the control group in NAA/Cr ratios obtained from thalamus, basal ganglia, and parietal white matter. Cho/Cr ratios in thalamus, basal ganglia, and parietal white matter were found to be significantly increased compared to controls. There was a positive correlation between basal ganglia Cho/Cr ratio and duration of exposure (r = 0.63). MR spectroscopy should be performed to reveal metabolite changes and determine the degree of brain involvement in solvent-related industry workers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / metabolism
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / metabolism
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Shoes
  • Solvents / toxicity*
  • Time Factors


  • Solvents
  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline