Toluene-induced hearing loss: a mid-frequency location of the cochlear lesions

Neurotoxicol Teratol. Mar-Apr 1997;19(2):129-40. doi: 10.1016/s0892-0362(96)00214-0.


Inhaled toluene (from 1000 to 2000 ppm, 6 h/day, 5 days/week, 4 weeks) is anototoxic solvent that severely damaged the cochlea in adult Long-Evans rats. Auditory function was tested by recording near field potentials from the inferior colliculus. Surprisingly, the electrophysiologic results did not reflect all the cochlear damage observed by histology. Loss of outer hair cells of the organ of Corti occurred in all toluene-treated rats in middle and mid-apical turns, whereas the basal turn of the cochlea was fairly well preserved. The third row of outer hair cells was more injured than the second row, which itself was more injured than the first row. The locations of the cochlear lesions are reported in the present study with regard to the toluene dose.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Audiometry
  • Auditory Threshold / drug effects
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Cochlea / drug effects*
  • Cochlea / physiopathology
  • Cochlea / ultrastructure
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Hair Cells, Vestibular / drug effects
  • Hair Cells, Vestibular / pathology
  • Hearing Loss / chemically induced*
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Organ of Corti / drug effects
  • Organ of Corti / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Toluene / administration & dosage
  • Toluene / toxicity*


  • Toluene