The goal of this study was to analyze the effects of prenatal exposure to the pesticides paraquat (PQ) and mancozeb (MZ) on the development of synaptic transmission in mouse cerebellar cortex. Pregnant NMRI mice were treated with either saline, 10 mg/kg PQ, 30 mg/kg MZ or the combination of PQ + MZ, between gestational days 12 (E12) and E20. Variation in the levels of amino acid neurotransmitters was determined by HPLC, between postnatal day 1 (P1) and P30. Motor coordination was assessed by locomotor activity evaluation of control and experimental pups at P14, P21 and P30. Significant reductions in the levels of excitatory neurotransmitters, aspartate and glutamate, were observed in PQ-, MZ- or combined PQ + MZ-exposed pups, with respect to control, during peak periods of excitatory innervation of Purkinje cells: between P2-P5 and P11-P15. However, at P30, lower aspartate contents, in contrast with increased glutamate levels, were detected in all experimental groups. During the first two postnatal weeks, delays in GABA and glycine ontogenesis were observed in PQ- and PQ + MZ-exposed pups, whereas notable decrements in GABA and glycine levels were seen in PQ + MZ-exposed animals. Decreased taurine contents were detected at P3 and P11 in PQ- and PQ + MZ-exposed mice. Pups in different experimental groups all showed hyperactivity at P14 and then exhibited reduced locomotor activity at P30. Taken together, our results indicate that prenatal exposure to either PQ or MZ or the combination of both could alter the chronology and magnitude of synaptic transmission in developing mouse cerebellar cortex.
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