Naphthalene and benzene are widely-used volatile organic compounds. The aim of this research was to examine the toxicological effects of naphthalene and benzene against Tribolium castaneum as an animal model. Adult insects were exposed to these aromatic compounds to assess mortality after 4-48 h of exposure. The lethal concentration 50 (LC50) for naphthalene, naphthalin, and benzene were 63.6 µL/L, 20.0 µL/L, and 115.9 µL/L in air, respectively. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis revealed expression changes in genes related to oxidative stress and metabolism [Glutathione S-Transferase (Gst), and Cytochrome P450 6BQ8 (Cyp6bq8)]; reproduction and metamorphosis [Hormone receptor in 39-like protein (Hr39), Ecdysone receptor: (Ecr), and Chitin synthase 2 (Chs2)]; and neurotransmission [Histamine-gated chloride channel 2 (Hiscl2)] in insects exposed for 4 h to 70.2 µL/L naphthalene. Adults exposed to benzene (80 µL/L; 4 h) overexpressed genes related to neurotransmission [GABA-gated anion channel (Rdl), Hiscl2, and GABA-gated ion channel (Grd)]; reproduction and metamorphosis [Ultraspiracle nuclear receptor (USP), Ecr; and Hr39]; and development (Chs2). The data presented here provides evidence that naphthalene and benzene inhalation are able to induce alterations on reproduction, development, metamorphosis, oxidative stress, metabolism, neurotransmission, and death of the insect.
Keywords: abnormalities; benzene; gene expression; mortality; naphthalene; naphthalin.