This follow-up study investigated the effects of low-level lead exposure during prenatal and early postnatal period on learning and memory in rats immediately after exposure has ceased at weaning and later in their adulthood. Male Wistar-derived rats were exposed to lead (as 0.2 % lead acetate solution) through their mothers during pregnancy and lactation until they were weaned. Mothers of control rats were given tap water during pregnancy and lactation. All pups were weaned on tap water at 21 days of age and were followed up until 120 days old. Low-level lead exposure did not affect their body weight at any time during the experiment. Blood lead in the exposed rats was significantly higher on postnatal day 22 and dropped to control values by day 120. Passive avoidance test showed impaired memory retention in the exposed rats on postnatal days 25 and 120. This suggests that exposure to low-lead levels during foetal and early postnatal development of brain tissue can cause memory impairment that lasts into adulthood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health