Global issues in volatile substance misuse.

Department of Sociology & School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Substance Use &amp Misuse (Impact Factor: 1.11). 01/2011; 46 Suppl 1:1-7. DOI: 10.3109/10826084.2011.580169
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This special issue of Substance Use & Misuse addresses the public health issue of volatile substance misuse (VSM), the inhalation of gases or vapors for psychoactive effects, assessing the similarities and differences in the products misused, patterns, prevalence, etiologies, and impacts of VSM by examining it through sociocultural epidemiology, neuroscience, and interventions research. The Canadian, US, and Australian guest editors contend that, when compared with other drugs used at a similar prevalence, VSM has attracted relatively little research effort. The authors and editors call for further research to develop evidence-based policies and comprehensive interventions that respect culture and context-specific knowledge.

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    ABSTRACT: Inhalant misuse starts at an early age and a large number of users are women in reproductive age. This study investigates whether exposure to toluene, a commonly misused solvent, alone or combined with restraint stress during pregnancy, produces adverse effects in pregnant mice and their offspring during lactation and adulthood. Pregnant animals were exposed to either 8000ppm toluene (30min/twice daily from gestational day 7-19), restraint stress (three times/day during the same gestation period) or both; control mice were only exposed to air. Our results show that toluene, stress and their combination reduced body weight gain in pregnant females without changing food consumption. In the offspring, all treatments resulted in low body weight at weaning, but with the toluene and stress combination this effect was seen from birth. Weight deficiency could not be attributed to poor maternal behaviour during the first 3weeks of age, but to a reduction in pro-TRH mRNA expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and serum prolactin levels in dams. After weaning, pups that were subjected to toluene and stress during gestation had lower body weight and ate less than control animals. In conclusion, the combined exposure to toluene and stress during pregnancy lead to more pronounced effects in dams and longer-lasting actions in pups than exposure to either toluene or stress.
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    ABSTRACT: Toluene misuse is a health problem worldwide with broad effects at the level of the central nervous system; however, therapeutic alternatives for inhalant abusers are limited. Chronic use of volatile substances is associated with different neurological and cognitive alterations, being anxiety a psychiatric condition with high prevalence. At cellular level toluene reduces neurogenesis and induces neuronal death. On the other hand, environmental enrichment has demonstrated to produce positive effects at behavioral and neuronal levels. Thus, the aim of the present work was to model alterations occasioned after repeated exposure to toluene (anxiety, reduction in neurogenesis - measured as doublecortin-labeled cells - and neuronal death). Subsequently, the influence of environmental enrichment on these effects was evaluated. Adolescent mice were exposed to toluene vapors from 1 to 4 weeks. Effects on anxiety were evaluated with the burying behavior test, whereas neurogenesis and hippocampal cell death were analyzed with immunohistochemistry, using anti-doublecortin or anti-active-Caspase-3 antibodies, respectively. Results showed that chronic toluene exposure increased anxiety in the burying behavior test; additionally, toluene decreased neurogenesis and enhanced neuronal death. Environmental enrichment (EE) enhanced the anxiety like response in air-exposed mice but did not modify the toluene anxiety response. Additionally, EE enhanced neurogenesis in toluene-pretreated animals at the same level to that found in animals unexposed to toluene and decreased neuronal death. Overall, the present study showed that environmental enrichment positively impacts some effects produced by repeated exposure to toluene.
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    ABSTRACT: The continued abuse of inhaled organic solvents,especially among women of childbearing age, raises the risk of long-term behavioral effects of maternal toluene abuse. In this study, the effects of short-term exposures to high toluene concentrations (i.e., “binges”) were tested in independent groups of adolescent rats with different toluene treatments: (a) acute: 30-day-old animals exposed for 30 min to air (A) or 6,000ppm toluene (T); (b) prenatal and postnatal: rats exposed to T or A from gestation days 8–20 and re-exposed to T or A from postnatal day (PN) 22 to PN30 (A/A, T/A, A/T, and T/T, resp.). On PN30, animals were evaluated in different tests. Postnatal toluene exposure produced anxiolytic-like effects in the burying behavior test, and the T/T group received the highest number of electrical shocks. Antinociception was observed in the T, A/T, and T/T groups in the hot- plate test. All toluene treatments impaired short-term memory in the object recognition test, but only postnatal exposure impaired long-term memory in the passive avoidance test. Sensitization occurred in the T/T group in locomotor activity. These results indicate that prenatal expo- sure to a concentration of toluene that does not produce evident mal- formations can modify behavioral toluene’s effects in adolescent rats.
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