In utero exposure to nicotine and chlorpyrifos alone, and in combination produces persistent sensorimotor deficits and Purkinje neuron loss in the cerebellum of adult offspring rats.
This study was carried out to investigate the effect of in utero exposure to the cholinotoxicants, nicotine and chlorpyrifos, alone or in combination on neurobehavioral alterations and neuronal morphology latter in adult age. In the present study, 90 days old (corresponding to a human adult age) male and female offspring rats were evaluated for neurobehavioral, and neuropathological alterations following maternal, gestational exposure to nicotine and chlorpyrifos (O,O-diethyl-O-3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyl phosphorothioate), alone and in combination. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (300-350 g) with timed-pregnancy were treated with nicotine (3.3 mg/kg/day, in bacteriostatic water via s.c. implantation of mini osmotic pump), chlorpyrifos (1.0 mg/kg, daily, dermal, in 75% ethanol, 1.0 ml/kg) or a combination of both chemicals, on gestational days (GD) 4-20. Control animals received bacteriostatic water via s.c. implantation of mini osmotic pump and dermal application of 70% ethanol. The offspring at postnatal day (PND) 90 were evaluated for neurobehavioral performance, changes in the activity of plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and neuropathological alterations in the brain. Neurobehavioral evaluations included beam-walk score, beam-walk time, incline plane performance and forepaw grip time. Male and female offspring from mothers treated with nicotine and CPF, alone or in combination showed impairments in the performance of neurobehavioral tests, indicating sensorimotor deficits. Female offspring from mothers treated with a combination of nicotine and chlorpyrifos showed significant increase in plasma BChE activity. Brain regional AChE activity showed differential increases in male and female offspring. Brainstem and cerebellum of female offspring from mothers treated with nicotine or chlorpyrifos, alone or in combination showed increased AChE activity, whereas brainstem of male offspring from mothers treated with nicotine alone or a combination of nicotine and chlorpyrifos showed increase in AChE activity. Also, male offspring exposed in utero to nicotine exhibited increased AChE activity. Histopathological evaluations using cresyl violet staining showed a decrease in surviving Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum in offspring of all treatments groups. An increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immuno-staining was observed in cerebellum white matter as well as granular cell layer (GCL) of cerebellum following all exposures. These results indicate that in utero exposure to nicotine and chlorpyrifos, alone and in combination produced significant sensorimotor deficits in male and female offspring, differential increase in brain AChE activity, a decrease in the surviving neurons and an increased expression of GFAP in cerebellum in adult offspring rats at a corresponding human adult age. Collectively, this study demonstrates that maternal exposure to environmental neurotoxic chemicals, i.e., nicotine and chlorpyrifos leads to developmental abnormalities in the offspring that persist latter into adulthood.
Abou-Donia, MB; Khan, WA; Dechkovskaia, AM; Goldstein, LB; Bullman, SL; Abdel-Rahman, A
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