Acta Med. 2001, 44: 93-96

Long Term Effects of Low-Level Sarin Inhalation Exposure on the Spatial Memory of Rats in a T-Maze

Jiří Kassa, Marie Koupilová, Josef Vachek

Purkyně Military Medical Academy in Hradec Králové, Department of Toxicology, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic

Received May 1, 2001
Accepted November 1, 2001

To study the influence of low-level sarin exposure on cognitive functions, male albino Wistar rats were exposed to three various low concentrations of sarin (LEVEL 1–3) for 60 minutes in the inhalation chamber. Testing of cognitive functions was carried out using the T-maze evaluating learning and spatial memory. The behavior of sarin-exposed rats in the T-maze was tested several times within five weeks following sarin inhalation exposure to look for any cognitive impairments. The alteration of cognition was evaluated by using a method studying memory elicitation in response to appetitive motivation in a multiple T-maze. 2. Statistically significant, short-term deficiency in the T-maze performance was observed in rats exposed to symptomatic (LEVEL 3) as well as clinically asymptomatic concentration (LEVEL 2) of sarin. The repeated exposure of rats to clinically asymptomatic dose of sarin (LEVEL 2R) did not change the effect of lowlevel sarin exposure on spatial memory compared to the single exposure to the same dose of sarin. 3. Thus, sarin is able to influence the cognitive functions (e.g. spatial memory) even at low doses that do not cause clinically manifested intoxication following the inhalation exposure. Nevetheless, the alteration of spatial memory lasts for a short time only, in contrast with the severe sarin poisoning.


This study was supported by the grant of Ministry of Defence, No. 03021100006.


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