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Profound destructive effects of adolescent exposure to vincristine accompanied with some sex differences in motor and memory performance

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Vincristine, an anticancer drug, is known to induce neuronal cell damage. We have elucidated the alteration in performance of the hippocampus and cerebellum following chronic vincristine treatment (0.2 mg·(kg body mass)–1·week–1) in male and female rats. Intraperitoneal injection of vincristine in adolescent rats caused impairment of motor and cognitive behavior. In the probe test, the length of path traveled and percent swimming time for vincristine-treated rats in the correct quadrant was significantly less than for the saline-treated (control) groups. The path length and time latency at the 2nd and 3rd blocks of trials for the male vincristine-treated group was significantly higher than that for the female saline- and the vincristine-treated rats. In the rod test, vincristine exposure impaired the motor coordination in both male and female rats. Exposure to vincristine caused a significant decrease in hanging time in male rats, compared with the saline- and the vincristine-treated female rats, while there were no differences between the female vincristine-treated rats and the saline-treated rats of both sexes. The rearing frequency, total distance moved, and velocity for both male and female rats were dramatically affected by exposure to vincristine. We have observed that the hippocampal and cerebellar functions of male and female rats were profoundly affected by exposure to vincristine, especially the male rats, suggesting a sexual dimorphism in the developing central nervous system that is affected by chemicals such as anticancer drugs.
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Keywords: apprentissage et mémoire; différences sexuelles; fonction motrice; learning and memory; motor function; sex differences; vincristine

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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