Long-term effects of developmental halothane exposure on radial arm maze performance in rats.
Chronic exposure of rats to low levels of halothane during development, a treatment which retards synaptogenesis, was found to cause a long-term impairment of choice accuracy in the radial-arm maze. In Expt. 1, the relative importance of dose level and dosing regimen was examined. Dose level seemed the more critical variable for causing impaired choice accuracy. Exposure to 100 parts per million (ppm) of halothane in the air either on an intermittent or continuous schedule from day two of conception until 60 days after birth significantly impaired choice accuracy, whereas exposure to 25 ppm on a continuous schedule did not cause a deficit, even though with this condition the total amount of halothane exposure was about the same as with 100 ppm given intermittently. In Expt. 2, the 100 ppm intermittent exposure regimen was used to examine the relative importance of exposure during early and late developmental periods for producing the cognitive effects of halothane. Groups were divided into those exposed to halothane during gestation and until 30 days after birth (early exposure), those exposed from day 31 until day 90 (late exposure) and those exposed during both early and late periods (combined exposure). Adverse effects on choice accuracy were seen with all 3 types of exposure, but surprisingly, it was the late exposure that caused the most severe effects. These results show that developmental exposure to halothane which impairs synaptogenesis also causes long-lasting cognitive impairment. Halothane exposure can be a useful experimental tool for examining the relationship between synaptic and behavioral development.
Levin, ED; DeLuna, R; Uemura, E; Bowman, RE
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