Alterations in Brain Neurotransmitters in B(α)P Exposed Rats: Role of D2 Receptors
Tzimas, Panagiotis C.
Johnson, Elizabeth O.
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Benzo(α)pyrene (B(α)P) (10mg/kg bwx3, ip), a representative polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), changed dopaminergic activity in hippocampus as assessed by dopamine (DA) levels and turnover. This effect is likely mediated via D2 receptors, as sulpiride eliminated the stimulating effect of B(α)P. Similarly, B(α)P increased noradrenaline (NA) levels in both hypothalamus and hippocampus and sulpiride blocked this effect. L-DOPA increased DA levels and turnover in both brain sites tested, a fact that was suppressed at some extent by sulpiride. In contrast, B(α)P had no effect on serotonin levels and activity in the two brain areas. In conclusion, PAHs, known environmental pollutants, even at relatively low consentrations may cause alterations in catecholamines of hypothalamus and hippocampus, at least in part, via D2 receptors. This may be of paramount significance for several vital functions of the exposed organism as these brain sites are related, among others, to cognitive functions and the regulation of homeostasis.