The effect of adolescent inhalant abuse on energy balance and growth

Rose Crossin, Ashleigh Qama, Zane B. Andrews, Andrew J. Lawrence, Jhodie R. Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The abuse of volatile solvents such as toluene is a significant public health concern, predominantly affecting adolescents. To date, inhalant abuse research has primarily focused on the central nervous system; however, inhalants also exert effects on other organ systems and processes, including metabolic function and energy balance. Adolescent inhalant abuse is characterized by a negative energy balance phenotype, with the peak period of abuse overlapping with the adolescent growth spurt. There are multiple components within the central and peripheral regulation of energy balance that may be affected by adolescent inhalant abuse, such as impaired metabolic signaling, decreased food intake, altered dietary preferences, disrupted glucose tolerance and insulin release, reduced adiposity and skeletal density, and adrenal hypertrophy. These effects may persist into abstinence and adulthood, and the long-term consequences of inhalant-induced metabolic dysfunction are currently unknown. The signs and symptoms resulting from chronic adolescent inhalant abuse may result in a propensity for the development of adult-onset metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, however, further research investigating the long-term effects of inhalant abuse upon energy balance and metabolism are needed. This review addresses several aspects of the short- and long-term effects of inhalant abuse relating to energy and metabolic processes, including energy balance, intake and expenditure; dietary preferences and glycemic control; and the dysfunction of metabolic homeostasis through altered adipose tissue, bone, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00498
Number of pages12
JournalPharmacology Research & Perspectives
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • addiction
  • adolescence
  • endocrine
  • energy balance
  • glycemic control
  • growth
  • inhalant abuse
  • metabolism
  • substance abuse
  • toluene
  • volatile solvent abuse

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