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Early and transitory hypoactivity and olfactory alterations after chronic atrazine exposure in female Sprague-Dawley rats.

Neurotoxicology 2024 Februrary 9
Several studies have shown that chronic exposure to the herbicide atrazine (ATR) causes alterations in locomotor activity and markers of the dopaminergic systems of male rats. However, few studies have evaluated the sex-dependent effects of atrazine exposure. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether chronic ATR exposure causes alterations in behavioral performance and dopaminergic systems of female rats. At weaning, two groups of rats were exposed to 1 or 10 mg ATR/kg body weight daily thorough the food, while the control group received food without ATR for 14 months. Spontaneous locomotor activity was evaluated monthly for 12 months, while anxiety, egocentric and spatial memory, motor coordination, and olfactory function tasks were evaluated between 13 and 14 months of ATR exposure. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and monoamine content in brain tissue were assessed at the end of ATR treatment. Female rats treated with 1 or 10 mg ATR showed vertical hypoactivity compared to the control group only in the first month of ATR exposure. Impairments in olfactory functions were found due to ATR exposure. Nevertheless, no alterations in anxiety, spatial and egocentric memory, or motor coordination tasks were observed, while the levels of TH and dopamine and its metabolites in brain tissue were similar among groups. These results suggest that female rats could present greater sensitivity to the neurotoxic effects of ATR on spontaneous locomotor activity in the early stages of development. However, they are unaffected by chronic ATR exposure later in life compared to male rats. More studies are necessary to unravel the sex-related differences observed after chronic ATR exposure.

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