The aim of this study was to see the effect of acutely administered inorganic lead, mercury, manganese, and their combinations, on the electrical activity in the somatosensory system of rats. Male Wistar rats were anaesthetised with urethane, the head was fixed in a stereotaxic frame and the left hemisphere was exposed. Weak electric shocks to the whiskers and the tail served as stimuli. Spontaneous and stimulus-evoked activity was recorded from the primary projection area of the whiskers and the tail. After an hour of control recording, one of the following was given to the rat i.p.: 1000 mg/kg Pb2+, 7 mg/kg Hg2+, 50 mg/kg Mn2+, 500 mg/kg Pb2+ + 25 mg/kg Mn2+, or 500 mg/kg Pb2+ + 3.5 mg/kg Hg2+. Lead caused a massive increase in the cortical response amplitude, starting immediately after administration and developing in the next 40-50 min. Latency showed a minimal increase. The spontaneous activity was moderately shifted to lower frequencies. The effect of Hg2+ on the response amplitude and on the ECoG was similar but stronger than that of Pb 2+. The effect of Mn2+ on the evoked activity was marked but less strong than with Pb2+. The ECoG shift was moderate. With Hg2+ and Mn2+, the response amplitude showed first a decrease than an increase. The effect of the Pb2+ + Mn2+ combination on the activities was not additive but the correlation between the alteration of the ECoG and the evoked potential was stronger than with any of the metals alone. With Pb2+ + Hg2+, the effect of Pb 2+ dominated on the evoked and that of Hg2+ on the spontaneous activity. In the peripheral nerve, action potential amplitude and conduction velocity were decreased. These alterations of the spontaneous and stimulus-evoked cortical activity probably reflected a specific action of the heavy metals on the nervous activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis