2011 Volume 36 Issue 3 Pages 267-276
In the present study, in order to reveal novel adverse effects of ultrafine particles (UFP) on the central nervous system, the effects of nanoparticle-rich diesel exhaust particles (NRDEP; count mode diameter, 21.45 nm) on emotional behavior, learning capability and brain neurotransmitter levels were studied in rats by intranasal instillation (iNI). NRDEP (10 and 50 µg/rat) was instilled into 2-week old infant, male rats once a week for 4 weeks. Spontaneous motor activity measured was observed to be inverse to the dose level. In active avoidance tests using a shuttle box, NRDEP-treated animals showed a lower avoidance performance than control animals given air-instillation. The levels of dopamine and its metabolite (DOPAC) in the medial mammillary nucleus of the brain tended to be lower in the NRDEP-treated animals. From these results, although the effects of NRDEP by iNI on the emotionality and the brain neurotransmitter levels were not fully clear, the results obtained by avoidance testing suggested involvement of UFP in learning capability.