Acute exposure to sarin increases blood brain barrier permeability and induces neuropathological changes in the rat brain: dose-response relationships. Academic Article uri icon


  • We hypothesize that a single exposure to an LD(50) dose of sarin induces widespread early neuropathological changes in the adult brain. In this study, we evaluated the early changes in the adult brain after a single exposure to different doses of sarin. Adult male rats were exposed to sarin by a single intramuscular injection at doses of 1, 0.5, 0.1 and 0.01 x LD(50). Twenty-four hours after the treatment, both sarin-treated and vehicle-treated (controls) animals were analyzed for: (i) plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity; (ii) brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity, (iii) m2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (m2 mAChR) ligand binding; (iv) blood brain barrier (BBB) permeability using [H(3)]hexamethonium iodide uptake assay and immunostaining for endothelial barrier antigen (EBA); and (v) histopathological changes in the brain using H&E staining, and microtubule-associated protein (MAP-2) and glial fibrillary acidic protein immunostaining. In animals treated with 1 x LD(50) sarin, the significant changes include a decreased plasma BChE, a decreased AChE in the cerebrum, brainstem, midbrain and the cerebellum, a decreased m2 mAChR ligand binding in the cerebrum, an increased BBB permeability in the cerebrum, brainstem, midbrain and the cerebellum associated with a decreased EBA expression, a diffuse neuronal cell death and a decreased MAP-2 expression in the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, and degeneration of Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum. Animals treated with 0.5 x LD(50) sarin however exhibited only a few alterations, which include decreased plasma BChE, an increased BBB permeability in the midbrain and the brain stem but without a decrease in EBA expression, and degeneration of Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum. In contrast, animals treated with 0.1 and 0.01 x LD(50) did not exhibit any of the above changes. However, m2 mAChR ligand binding in the brainstem was increased after exposure to all doses of the sarin.Collectively, the above results indicate that, the early brain damage after acute exposure to sarin is clearly dose-dependent, and that exposure to 1 x LD(50) sarin induces detrimental changes in many regions of the adult rat brain as early as 24 hours after the exposure. The early neuropathological changes observed after a single dose of 1 x LD(50) sarin could lead to a profound long-term neurodegenerative changes in many regions of the brain, and resulting behavioral abnormalities.

published proceedings

  • Neuroscience

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Abdel-Rahman, A., Shetty, A. K., & Abou-Donia, M. B

citation count

  • 90

complete list of authors

  • Abdel-Rahman, A||Shetty, AK||Abou-Donia, MB

publication date

  • September 2002