Journal Article

Toluene Effect on the Olivocochlear Reflex

Cécile Rumeau, Pierre Campo, Thomas Venet, Aurélie Thomas, Chantal Cour and Cécile Parietti-Winkler

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 121, issue 1, pages 140-145
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Toluene Effect on the Olivocochlear Reflex

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Animal studies have shown that toluene can cause hearing loss and can exacerbate the effects of noise by inhibiting the middle ear acoustic reflex. In this investigation, carried out in Long-Evans rats, the tensor tympani tendon was cutoff and the stapedius muscle was electrocoagulated in one or both middle ears. Rat hearing was evaluated by measuring cubic distortion otoacoustic emissions (2f1-f2; f1 = 8000 Hz; f2 = 9600 Hz; f1/f2 = 1.2) prior to, during, and after activation of the olivocochlear (OC) reflex. A band noise centered at 4 kHz was used as suppressor noise. It was delivered contralaterally to decrease 2f1-f2 amplitude. The strength of the inner ear acoustic reflex was tested by increasing contralateral noise intensity, and toluene injected into the carotid artery was used to study physiological efficacy. Results showed that the protective effect of the OC reflex is intensity dependent. In addition, the OC reflex was found to be less sensitive to toluene than the middle ear acoustic reflex. This may be because the efferent neurons involved in inner ear and middle ear reflexes are located differently. In conclusion, the synergistic effects on hearing of co-exposure to noise and aromatic solvents are because of solvents depressing the central nuclei, which mainly drive the middle ear acoustic reflex.

Keywords: DPOAE; toluene; noise; co-exposure; olivocochlear reflex

Journal Article.  4207 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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