Relationship between Benzene Metabolism and Toxicity: A Proposed Mechanism for the Formation of Reactive Intermediates from Polyphenol Metabolites

  • Richard D. Irons
  • William F. Greenlee
  • Daniel Wierda
  • James S. Bus
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB)


Exposure to benzene has long been associated with myelotoxicity. A variety of blood dyscrasias attributed to benzene exposure has been reported including leukopenia, pancytopenia, bone marrow hypoplasia or aplasia, thrombocytopenia, granulocytopenia and lymphocytopenia (Aksoy et al, 1971; 1972 Goldwater, 1941; for review see Laskin & Goldstein, 1977). Among these abnormalities one of the most frequently cited is lymphocytopenia. In one of the few controlled studies of workers exposed to benzene, Goldwater reported the frequent occurrence of an absolute lymphocytopenia in affected individuals (1941), and additional studies have reported a correlation between lymphocytopenia and altered immunologic parameters in workers exposed to benzene (Lange et al, 1973a,b; Revnova, 1962; Roth et al, 1972). Lymphocytopenia results from benzene exposure in experimental animals as well. Several studies have demonstrated that benzene exposure in rats or rabbits result in bone marrow hypoplasia accompanied by a dose-related lymphocytopenia which precedes a decrease in the number of other circulating cells (Selling, 1916; Weiskotten et al, 1920; Svirbely et al, 1944; Nau et al, 1966; Irons et al, 1979; Irons & Moore, 1980; Irons, 1980).


Covalent Binding Benzene Exposure Muconic Acid Bone Marrow Hypoplasia Benzene Metabolite 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard D. Irons
    • 1
  • William F. Greenlee
    • 1
  • Daniel Wierda
    • 1
  • James S. Bus
    • 1
  1. 1.Industry Institute of ToxicologyResearch Triangle ParkUSA

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