Early chronic low-level Pb exposure alters global exploratory behaviors but does not impair spatial and object memory retrieval in an object-in-place task in pre-adolescent C57BL/6J mice
Neurotoxicology and Teratology
© 2017 Elsevier Inc. The mechanisms by which early chronic low-level lead (Pb) exposure disrupts the developing brain are not yet understood. Rodent models have provided promising results however behavioral tests sensitive to effects at lowest levels of exposure during development are needed. Preadolescent animals (N = 52) exposed to low and higher levels of Pb via lactation from birth to PND 28 completed the Object-in-Place Task of visual spatial and visual object memory retrieval (at PND 28). Generalized linear mixed models were used, controlling for sex and litter as a random effect. As compared with controls, global vertical exploratory behavior (rearing) markedly increased during memory retrieval. The findings suggested that early chronic Pb exposure altered the development of critical exploratory functions needed for learning and survival. Behaviors exhibited in novel spatial and novel object zone perimeters suggested that the Object-in-Place task is a valid measure of visual spatial and visual object memory in pre-adolescent C57BL/6J mice. Additional studies are needed to understand how early chronic low-level lead exposure disrupts the trajectory and possible linkages of critical exploratory and perceptual systems during development.