Neurotransmitters and neuronal apoptotic cell death of chronically aluminum intoxicated Nile catfish (Clarias gariepinus) in response to ascorbic acid supplementation

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Few studies have been carried out to assess the neurotoxic effect of aluminum (Al) on the aquatic creatures. This study aims to evaluate the neurotoxic effects of long term Al exposure on the Nile catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and the potential ameliorative influence of ascorbic acid (ASA) over a 180 days exposure period. Forty eight Nile catfish were divided into four groups: control group, placed in clean water, ASA exposed group (5 mg/l), AlCl3 received group (28.96 μg/l; 1/20 LC50), and group received AlCl3 concomitantly with ASA. Brain tissue was examined by using flow cytometry to monitor the apoptotic cell population, HPLC analysis for the quantitative estimation of brain monoamine neurotransmitters [serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE)]. The amino acid neurotransmitters [serum taurine, glycine, aspartate and glutamine and brain gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)] levels were assessed, plus changes in brain tissue structure using light microscopy. The concentration of Al in both brain tissue and serum was determined by using atomic absorption spectrophotometery. The Al content in serum and brain tissue were both elevated and Al exposure induced an increase in the number of apoptotic cells, a marked reduction of the monoamine and amino acids neurotransmitters levels and changes in tissue morphology. ASA supplementation partially abolished the effects of AL on the reduced neurotransmitter, the degree of apoptosis and restored the morphological changes to the brain. Overall, our results indicate that, ASA is a promising neuroprotective agent against for Al-induced neurotoxicity in the Nile catfish.

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