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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 263–269 | Cite as

Effects of chronic lead exposure on levels of acetylcholine and choline and on acetylcholine turnover rate in rat brain areas in vivo

  • Tsung-Ming Shih
  • Israel Hanin
Article

Abstract

Rats were exposed to lead acetate from birth, and were killed at the age of 44–51 days for analysis of levels and turnover rates of acetylcholine (ACh). Steady-state levels of ACh were not altered in midbrain, cortex, hippocampus, or striatum of lead-exposed rats. Similarly, no changes in choline (Ch) concentrations were found in cortex, hippocampus, or striatum. In the midbrain, however, a 30% reduction in Ch levels was observed. Changes in specific activity of Ch and ACh were measured as a function of time in selected brain areas of rats infused with a radio-labeled precursor of Ch. Specific activities of ACh were not altered. Ch specific activities were, however, significantly elevated in all brain areas examined, as compared with age-matched control rats. The in vivo ACh turnover rate in cortex, hippocampus, midbrain, and striatum was diminished by 35%, 54%, 51% and 33%, respectively. These findings provide direct evidence for an inhibitory effect of lead exposure from birth on central cholinergic function in vivo. Since a significant reduction of body weight was found in those animals treated with lead acetate, the alteration of central cholinergic function may partially be attributed to malnutrition observed in the lead-exposed animals.

Key words

Cholinergic function Acetylcholine Choline Levels Turnover rates Gas chromatography Lead poisoning Malnutrition Central nervous system 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsung-Ming Shih
    • 1
  • Israel Hanin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburgh

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