Comparison of the developmental milestones and preweaning neurobehavioral parameters in rat pups exposed to lead (Pb) during gestation, lactation and pregestation period

Rajashekar Rao Barkur, Laxminarayana K. Bairy

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Studies in urban children exposed to low lead (Pb) have shown neurobehavioral deficits in the domains of intelligence, reaction time and attention. The structures - hippocampus (vital for learning and memory) and cerebellum (play a role in motor behavior and cognition) - which develop postnatally, are affected by developmental Pb exposure. The effect of low level of Pb exposure during specific periods of early brain development on early neurobehavioral outcomes in rat pups has not been studied. So in this study, pregnant albino Wistar strain rats were exposed to low levels of Pb in drinking water during gestation period (G group), lactation period (L group), both gestation and lactation period (GL group) and prior to pregnancy (a period of 1 month) (PG group). The rat pups born in each of these groups were assessed in preweaning neurobehavioral parameters including surface righting reflex, swimming development, negative geotaxis and ascending wire mesh test. The swimming development scores were low in the GL group of rats. The negative geotaxis score in GL and G groups were altered. The day of achievement of ascending wire mesh test was significantly delayed in GL, G and L groups of rats. To conclude, results show that (a) low level of Pb exposure during gestation and lactation period of brain development causes significant alterations in the early neurobehavioral and sensorimotor reflex development in the absence of concomitant weight loss and (b) gestation period only and lactation period only, Pb exposure causes alteration in some of the neurobehavioral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 02-07-2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Chemical Health and Safety

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