, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 508–515 | Cite as

Effects of tellurium ingestion on learning capacity of the rat

  • Denise Dru
  • William F. Agnew
  • Ernest Greene
Animal Studies


Chronic consumption of tellurium results in heavy deposits of the metal in neuronal lysosomes. Acute exposure to tellurium produces noticeable toxic reactions, and long-term exposure may produce pathological changes. Previous studies have reported only mild neurological symptoms, and it is unclear as to how much functional brain damage results from uptake of the metal. The present study found rats, which had been exposed to a tellurium diet for five months, to be severely impaired in their ability to learn a sequence of behavioral tasks. The learning deficits remained severe even after exposure to tellurium had been terminated for three months. The results suggest long-term disturbance of motivational as well as discriminative capacity as a result of neural impairment.

Key words

Tellurium Ingestion Neural Impairment Learning Deficits 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise Dru
    • 1
    • 2
  • William F. Agnew
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ernest Greene
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Huntington Institute of Applied Medical ResearchPasadena
  2. 2.University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles

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