This study was undertaken to evaluate the influence of a carbohydrate restricted diet, a subacute ethanol intake, and their combined effect on the kinetics of toluene in humans. Eight healthy male volunteers were exposed by inhalation at four different occasions to 200 mg/m3 2H8-toluene for two hours at a work load of 50 W after a one week low (30%) carbohydrate (CH) diet or high (60%) CH diet with (+EtOH) or without (-EtOH) ethanol consumption (47 g ethanol) on the evening before exposure. Deuterium labelled toleune was used to measure the excretion of hippuric acid originating from toluene separately from hippuric acid from other sources. The results indicated that subacute ethanol consumption combined with a carbohydrate restricted diet, may enhance the metabolism of toluene in humans at an exposure concentration of 200 mg/m3. The cumulative amount of hippuric acid excreted in the urine up to 20 hours after the end of exposure in % of the net uptake of toluene was enhanced by 22% (p = 0.05) in the low CH + EtOH compared with the low CH-EtOH experiment. The apparent blood clearance of toluene was 37% higher in the low CH + EtOH than in the low CH-EtOH experiment, but this effect was not statistically significant (p = 0.1). There were no significant changes in the kinetics of toluene as a result of a low carbohydrate diet alone. Neither did subacute ethanol intake without the combination with a carbohydrate restricted diet influence the kinetics of toluene.
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