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EFFECTS OF PERINATAL LEAD ACETATE EXPOSURE ON LOCOMOTOR ACTIVITY AND SPATIAL LEARNING BEHAVIOURS OF WISTAR RATS. Kahloula K, Slimani M, Adli D E H

EFFECTS OF PERINATAL LEAD ACETATE EXPOSURE ON LOCOMOTOR ACTIVITY AND SPATIAL LEARNING BEHAVIOURS OF WISTAR RATS

Kahloula K, Slimani M, Adli D E H

International Journal of Pharmacology & Toxicology Science 2012; 2(4):1-10.


Abstract

We investigated the effects of lead (Pb) (lead acetate 0.2%) exposure during gestation and lactation (42 days) on the locomotor activity, spatial learning and memory capacities of postnatal rats (PN32). Lead acetate poisoning caused a reduction of locomotor activity in the offsprings of rats borne to lead-exposed dams. This locomotor hypoactivity is explained by diminution in the release of catecholamine, induced by reduction of its postsynaptic availability. Our results indicate that rats exposed to lead during gestation and lactation have a significantly increased escape latency and covered a significantly longer distance compared to the control, as shown in the learning phase of the Morris water maze (P<0.01). Lead administration induced a decrease of learning capacity in exposed rats compared to control rats. These results show that Pb acts on N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, important in synaptic mechanisms involved in learning and memory, and key target of lead toxicity. This shows that reduction of memorisation depends on glutamatergic system and NMDA receptors. In order to assess interaction between Pb and NMDA receptors we used a D-cycloserine (DCS) (30 mg/ml), known agonist of NMDA receptor, administered after weaning for 15 days, to attenuate Pb neurotoxicity. Administration of DCS to Pb exposed rats improved significantly their learning performance compared to the control (P<0.01). In conclusion, results of the present study show that learning deficits induced by a chronic Pb intoxication during gestation until weaning can be corrected by a chronic administration of DCS postpartum.

Keywords: Lead acetate, Locomotor activity, Neurotoxicity, Spatial learning.
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