The concentrations of protein, albumin, IgG, and free amino acids in the cerebrospinal fluid of 16 patients with chronic toxic encephalopathy due to organic solvents were measured. The patient group consisted of all patients with this diagnosis in a neurological department in 1985. The diagnosis was based on neuraesthenic symptoms, pathological psychometric performance, and verified exposure to neurotoxic organic solvents. A control group of 16 patients with myalgias or backache, or both, and no signs of disease was used for comparison. The purpose was to study possible changes in the cerebrospinal fluid that might contribute to understanding the aetiology of solvent induced chronic toxic encephalopathy. A rise in protein, albumin, and IgG was found in the patient group compared with the control group, as well as reduced concentrations of phosphoethanolamine, taurine, homocarnosine, ethanolamine, alpha-aminobutyric acid, and leucine. Using a stepwise multiple regression analysis, taurine was negatively correlated to exposure to solvents. These findings may indicate membrane alterations in the central nervous system related to exposure to organic solvents.
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