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Toxicol Lett. 2009 Oct 8;190(1):66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.05.022. Epub 2009 Jun 6.

Role of the olfactory receptor neurons in the direct transport of inhaled uranium to the rat brain.

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1
Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, Laboratoire de Radiotoxicologie Expérimentale, IRSN/DRPH/SRBE/LRTOX, Site du Tricastin, B.P. 166, 26702 Pierrelatte Cedex, France.

Abstract

Uranium presents numerous industrial and military uses and one of the most important risks of contamination is dust inhalation. In contrast to the other modes of contamination, the inhaled uranium has been proposed to enter the brain not only by the common route of all modes of exposure, the blood pathway, but also by a specific inhalation exposure route, the olfactory pathway. To test whether the inhaled uranium enter the brain directly from the nasal cavity, male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to both inhaled and intraperitoneally injected uranium using the (236)U and (233)U, respectively, as tracers. The results showed a specific frontal brain accumulation of the inhaled uranium which is not observed with the injected uranium. Furthermore, the inhaled uranium is higher than the injected uranium in the olfactory bulbs (OB) and tubercles, in the frontal cortex and in the hypothalamus. In contrast, the other cerebral areas (cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum and brain residue) did not show any preferential accumulation of inhaled or injected uranium. These results mean that inhaled uranium enters the brain via a direct transfer from the nasal turbinates to the OB in addition to the systemic pathway. The uranium transfer from the nasal turbinates to the OB is lower in animals showing a reduced level of olfactory receptor neurons (ORN) induced by an olfactory epithelium lesion prior to the uranium inhalation exposure. These results give prominence to a role of the ORN in the direct transfer of the uranium from the nasal cavity to the brain.

PMID:
19501638
DOI:
10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.05.022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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