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Presynaptic Mechanisms of Lead Neurotoxicity: Effects on Vesicular Release, Vesicle Clustering and Mitochondria Number

Zhang, Xiao-lei; Guariglia, Sara Rose; Stansfield, Kirstie H.; McGlothan, Jennifer L.; Stanton, Patric K.; Guilarte, Tomas R.

Childhood lead (Pb2+) intoxication is a global public health problem and accounts for 0.6% of the global burden of disease associated with intellectual disabilities. Despite the recognition that childhood Pb2+ intoxication contributes significantly to intellectual disabilities, there is a fundamental lack of knowledge on presynaptic mechanisms by which Pb2+ disrupts synaptic function. In this study, using a well-characterized rodent model of developmental Pb2+ neurotoxicity, we show that Pb2+ exposure markedly inhibits presynaptic vesicular release in hippocampal Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses in young adult rats. This effect was associated with ultrastructural changes which revealed a reduction in vesicle number in the readily releasable/docked vesicle pool, disperse vesicle clusters in the resting pool, and a reduced number of presynaptic terminals with multiple mitochondria with no change in presynaptic calcium influx. These studies provide fundamental knowledge on mechanisms by which Pb2+ produces profound inhibition of presynaptic vesicular release that contribute to deficits in synaptic plasticity and intellectual development.

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Academic Units
Environmental Health Sciences
Published Here
January 7, 2016
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