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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 623812, 8 pages
Review Article

Indoor Volatile Organic Compounds and Chemical Sensitivity Reactions

1Center for Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
2Center for Environmental Risk Research, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
3University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 807-8555, Japan
4Department of Environmental Health, National Institute of Public Health, 2-3-6 Minami, Wako City, Saitama 351-0197, Japan

Received 28 April 2013; Accepted 17 September 2013

Academic Editor: Carlos Barcia

Copyright © 2013 Tin-Tin Win-Shwe et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studies of unexplained symptoms observed in chemically sensitive subjects have increased the awareness of the relationship between neurological and immunological diseases due to exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, there is no direct evidence that links exposure to low doses of VOCs and neurological and immunological dysfunction. We review animal model data to clarify the role of VOCs in neuroimmune interactions and discuss our recent studies that show a relationship between chronic exposure of C3H mice to low levels of formaldehyde and the induction of neural and immune dysfunction. We also consider the possible mechanisms by which VOC exposure can induce the symptoms presenting in patients with a multiple chemical sensitivity.