Archives of toxicology

Behavioral abnormalities and apoptotic changes in neurons in mice brain following a single administration of allylnitrile.

PMID 10207611


A single dose of allylnitrile in mice might induce persistent behavioral abnormalities, of which the mechanism is not yet known. The present study was undertaken to explore the relationship between behavioral abnormalities and pathological changes in the brain of mice following exposure to allylnitrile. Exposure to allylnitrile (63, 84, and 112 mg/kg, p.o.) resulted in dose-dependent changes in behavioral abnormalities, including increased locomotor activity, circling, retropulsion, head twitching, and alteration in reflexive behavior, which appeared at day 2 postdosing and were persistent throughout the experimental period (60 days) at the higher dose levels. Allylnitrile produced neuronal retraction including hyperchromasia of the nuclei in the raphe nuclei, cerebral cortex, hypothalamus, hippocampal CA1 and dentate gyrus later than 30 days. No gliosis was observed in these regions. Not all but a significant number of neurons in the hippocampal CA1, medial habenula and raphe nuclei were immuno-reactive to CPP32 (Caspase-3) even at day 2. These neurons were also positive to Hoechst 33258 staining, indicating allylnitrile caused apoptotic changes in specific neurons when neuronal behaviors became apparent. These apoptotic changes were persistent even in the area without neuronal contraction such as medial habenula. However, almost all neurons in these areas were also positive to terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL). It is conceivable that allylnitrile caused apoptotic changes in neurons but did not always lead them to cell death immediately. Moreover, even when neuronal contraction resulted in retention of behavioral abnormalities, onset of these abnormalities seems to be associated with the impairment in the habenulo-raphe relay due to activation of apoptotic cascade in neurons.

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Allyl cyanide, 98%
Crotononitrile, mixture of cis and trans, 99%