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Neurobiol Aging. 1995 Sep-Oct;16(5):723-35.

Neurotoxic effects of neonatal triethyltin (TET) exposure are exacerbated with aging.

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  • 1Neurotoxicology Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.


Neonatal Long-Evans rats dosed with TET (5 mg/kg; IP) or saline on postnatal day (PND) 10 were examined across the life span for neural damage and performance on spatial learning tasks. A subset of rats were sacrificed to assess early damage with Nissl-staining, Timm's histochemistry, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemistry 2, 7, or 14 days after dosing. Littermates were tested behaviorally in a T-maze spatial delayed alternation task on PND 23 or PND 90, and in a Morris water maze place learning task at 3, 12, or 24 months postdosing and then sacrificed for histological analysis. In neonatal rats, histological analysis indicated gliosis in discrete cortical regions, loss of Nissl-stained neurons in the hippocampal formation, entorhinal cortex and piriform cortex, and loss of Timm's staining in the entorhinal cortex. The behavioral assessment at PND 23 indicated a significant impairment in the T-maze. However, no significant impairments were observed in the T-maze at 3 months or the water maze at 3 or 12 months postdosing. At 24 months, TET-treated rats showed significant deficits in acquisition and retention of the water maze task compared with age-matched controls. Both groups of 24 months old rats were significantly impaired compared with young controls. At 24 months, there was a general age-related decrease in the optical density of Timm's staining in cortical regions (9%), compounded by a further decrease in the entorhinal cortex and outer molecular layer of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus in TET treated rats (30%). These data indicate that early developmental exposure to an organometal resulted in morphological damage that was apparent behaviorally only during early postnatal development and with advanced aging.

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