Behavioural and neurotoxic effects in Wistar rats induced by low doses of ochratoxin A

Prasanna Krishnamurthy, A. K. Sharma, P. Dwivedi, S. K. Tandan

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The effect of ochratoxin A (OTA) on behavioural changes and pathology of brain was studied in seven weeks-old male Wistar rats administered orally with OTA 0.25 mg and 0.50 mg /kg body weight (group A and group B, respectively), daily for four weeks. Pathomorphological changes in brain at intervals of 2 days and 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks, while behavioural studies at the end of 4th week post OTA exposure were studied. Behavioural studies in rats of higher dose (0.5mg OTA/kg bw) revealed significant changes in both spontaneous and forced motor activities. OTA-treated rats showed reduced number of both horizontal and vertically directed movements. Rotarod test showed that the OTA-treated rats could remain on the rotating rod for a considerably lesser time than that of control rats. The pathological lesions in brain were more severe in the higher dose group rats which included congestion and a significant increase in relative weight. Histopathological changes in the brain were characterized by degenerative changes with satellitosis of glial cells around the degenerating neurons in group-A rats. Rats in group-B showed engorgement of blood vessels of the meninges and focal gliosis in the cerebellar peduncle with perivascular cuffing. At later stages of ochratoxicosis, cerebrum revealed haemorrhages, extensive neuronal degeneration with neuronophagia and perinuclear vacuolation in the neurons. It was concluded that the effect of OTA on the brain was dose-dependent and the rats exposed to even low levels of OTA exhibited significant behavioural changes suggesting a potential neurotoxic effect of OTA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
JournalToxicology International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Neurotoxic effects
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Pathomorphological changes
  • Wistar rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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