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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Pediatrics and Child Health

Neurodevelopmental Consequences of Sub-Clinical Carbon Monoxide Exposure in Newborn Mice
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012
Author: Ying Cheng et al.

by Ying Cheng, Adia Thomas, Feras Mardini, Shannon L. Bianchi, Junxia X. Tang, Jun Peng, Huafeng Wei, Maryellen F. Eckenhoff, Roderic G. Eckenhoff, Richard J. Levy

Carbon monoxide (CO) exposure at high concentrations results in overt neurotoxicity. Exposure to low CO concentrations occurs commonly yet is usually sub-clinical. Infants are uniquely vulnerable to a variety of toxins, however, the effects of postnatal sub-clinical CO exposure on the developing brain are unknown. Apoptosis occurs normally within the brain during development and is critical for synaptogenesis. Here we demonstrate that brief, postnatal sub-clinical CO exposure inhibits developmental neuroapoptosis resulting in impaired learning, memory, and social behavior. Three hour exposure to 5 ppm or 100 ppm CO impaired cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, and apoptosis in neocortex and hippocampus of 10 day old CD-1 mice. CO increased NeuN protein, neuronal numbers, and resulted in megalencephaly. CO-exposed mice demonstrated impaired memory and learning and reduced socialization following exposure. Thus, CO-mediated inhibition of neuroapoptosis might represent an important etiology of acquired neurocognitive impairment and behavioral disorders in children.
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