Acta Med. 2002, 45: 149-153

The Impairment of Spatial Memory Following Low-Level Sarin Inhalation Exposure and Antidotal Treatment in Rats

Jiří Kassa, Gabriela Krejčová, Josef Vachek

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

Received August 1, 2002
Accepted September 1, 2002

1. To study the influence of antidotes on low-level sarin-induced impairment of cognitive functions, the rats were exposed to three various low concentrations of sarin (LEVEL 1–3) for 60 minutes in the inhalation chamber. In addition, one group of rats was exposed to LEVEL 2 of sarin repeatedly. 2. Testing of cognitive functions was carried out using the Y-maze evaluating learning and spatial memory. The correct averse behavior of sarin-exposed rats in the Y-maze was tested several times within four weeks following sarin inhalation exposure and antidotal treatment to look for any cognitive impairments. 3. The results were compared to the Y-maze performance of sarin-exposed rats without antidotal treatment and control rats exposed to pure air instead of sarin with or without antidotal treatment. While antidotal treatment was able to eliminate a short-term deficiency in the Y-maze performance in rats exposed to the LEVEL 1 of sarin, a significant decrease in the Y-maze performance in rats exposed to sarin at the LEVEL 2 and 3 was only shortened. Sarin-induced spatial memory impairments in rats exposed repeatedly to sarin at the LEVEL 2 was also shortened when rats were treated following each sarin inhalation exposure. 4. The findings confirm that antidotes currently used for nerve agent poisonings are beneficial for the treatment of rats singly or repeatedly exposed to non-convulsive symptomatic or even clinically asymptomatic concentrations of sarin.


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


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