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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2005 Jul-Aug;27(4):565-74.

Concurrent exposure to aluminum and stress during pregnancy in rats: Effects on postnatal development and behavior of the offspring.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Psychobiology Unit, "Rovira i Virgili" University, Sescelades Campus, 43007 Tarragona, Spain.

Abstract

The present study was conducted to assess the potential combined influence of maternal restraint stress and aluminum (Al) exposure on postnatal development and behavior in the offspring of exposed rats. Female rats were concurrently exposed to 0 (control group), 50 or 100 mg/kg/day of Al administered as Al nitrate nonahydrate in drinking water with citric acid (355 or 710 mg/kg/day) for a period of 15 days prior to mating with untreated males. Aluminum exposure was maintained throughout the gestational, lactational and post-weaning periods. On days 6-20 of gestation, one-half of the pregnant animals in each group were restrained for 2 h/day. Food consumption and maternal body weight were decreased in the groups exposed to restraint only or combined with the highest Al dose. All of the animals were allowed to deliver and wean their offspring. The pups were evaluated for physical development and neuromotor maturation. Moreover, open-field activity, passive avoidance, and spatial learning in a water maze were also determined on postnatal days 30, 35 and 60, respectively. Body weight of pups treated with 100 mg/kg/day of Al was decreased relative to controls from postnatal day 12 through 21, sexual maturation was delayed in Al treated females and in males exposed to 100 mg/kg/day. Forelimb grip strength was reduced in males exposed to 100 mg/Al/kg/day and in females exposed to this Al dose plus prenatal restraint. Learning in a passive avoidance task indicated facilitated performance for Al treated rats at 100 mg/kg/day combined with prenatal restraint as evidenced by longer avoidance latencies, while learning in a water maze task showed a shorter latency to find the platform on acquisition day 2 for Al treated rats. However, no effects of Al on water maze performance were detected during the retention probe trial in which the only effect noted was an increase in the platform quadrant swim time for the prenatal restraint group. In general terms, the results of the present study did not show a notable influence of maternal restraint on the Al-induced postnatal developmental and behavioral effects in the offspring of prenatally Al-exposed rats.

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