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With respect to the respiratory tract, the sensory irritation in the upper part of the respiratory tract was studied by determining the concentration associated with a 50% decrease in the respiratory rate (RD50). Using male Swiss OF1 mice, the RD50 for 4-methylpent-3-ene-2-one was 61 ppm (250 mg/m3) (De Ceaurriz et al., 1984).

Brondeau et al. (1990) found a concentration-related decrease in white blood cell counts (leucopenia) without any change in differential or red blood cell counts in rats after 4-hour exposures to 18, 68, 86, and 130 ppm (74, 278, 352, 532 mg/m3), being statistically different (p< 0.05) from controls at the 2 higher concentrations. This effect was adrenal dependent and Brondeau et al. regarded it as an associative response to sensory irritation.

Inhalation of 347 to 540 ppm of mesityl oxide for 4 hr resulted in significantly decreased duration of the immobility phase (to 31 to 67 percent, respectively) in a "behavioral despair" swimming test. The differences between the exposed and control rats were statistically significant at all exposure concentrations (De Ceaurriz et al., 1984).

The aspiration hazard of mesityl oxide was determined in 5 albino rats. 0.2 ml of mesityl oxide was placed in the mouth of each anesthetized animal. The liquid dosed was completely aspirated from the oral cavity into the lungs before the animals regained consciousness. Four out of 5 of the animals died a few minutes or whithin 24 hours after dosing. The lungs of all the died rats had hemorrhagic areas.