The effects of gestational and chronic atrazine exposure on motor behaviors and striatal dopamine in male Sprague-Dawley rats

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This study sought to investigate the effects of environmentally relevant gestational followed by continued chronic exposure to the herbicide, atrazine, on motor function, cognition, and neurochemical indices of nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) activity in male rats. Dams were treated with 100 μg/kg atrazine, 10 mg/kg atrazine, or vehicle on gestational day 1 through postnatal day 21. Upon weaning, male offspring continued daily vehicle or atrazine gavage treatments for an additional six months. Subjects were tested in a series of behavioral assays, and 24 h after the last treatment, tissue samples from the striatum were analyzed for DA and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC). At 10 mg/kg, this herbicide was found to produce modest disruptions in motor functioning, and at both dose levels it significantly lowered striatal DA and DOPAC concentrations. These results suggest that exposures to atrazine have the potential to disrupt nigrostriatal DA neurons and behaviors associated with motor functioning.

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