Maternal low-level lead exposure reduces the expression of PSA-NCAM and the activity of sialyltransferase in the hippocampi of neonatal rat pups

Qiansheng Hu, Hongjun Fu, Tieling Ren, Shuyu Wang, Wei Zhou, Hong Song, Yifan Han, Shengzhang Dong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Highly polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) is transiently expressed specifically in newly generated cells, and is important for cell migration and neurite outgrowth. Developmental lead (Pb) exposure has been considered to affect the expression of PSA-NCAM, which contributes to the neurotoxicity of Pb exposure. However, the effect of maternal low-level Pb exposure on the expression of PSA-NCAM in neonatal rat pups has not been reported. In the present study, female Wistar rats were exposed to vehicle or different dosages of lead chloride (0.5-4 mM PbCl2) 2 weeks before and during pregnancy. This exposure protocol resulted in neonatal rat pups blood Pb levels up to 12.12 ± 0.38 μg/dl, and hippocampal Pb levels up to 9.22 ± 0.81 μg/g at postnatal day 1 (PND 1). Immunohistochemistry analysis and Western blot analysis revealed that the expressions of PSA-NCAM and NCAM in the hippocampi of neonatal rat pups at PND 1 were significantly reduced by the maternal low-level Pb exposures. Furthermore, the mRNA levels of NCAM and polysialyltransferases (STX and PST), measured by the fluorescent real-time quantitative RT-PCR, dosage-dependently and significantly decreased by 13.26-37.62%, 25.17-59.67%, and 10.78-47.81%, respectively. In addition, the sialyltransferase activity in neonatal rat pups was significantly reduced by 6.23-32.50% in the presence of the low-level Pb exposure, too. Taken together, these results suggest that maternal low-level Pb exposure reduces the expression of PSA-NCAM, NCAM, and the activity of sialyltransferase in the hippocampi of neonatal rat pups, which might contribute to the learning and memory impairments in the developmental pups following maternal low-level Pb exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-681
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • Hippocampus
  • Lead
  • Neonatal rat pups
  • Polysialyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology

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