Fluoride Action Network


In order to investigate the molecular mechanism(s) underlying brain dysfunction caused by chronic fluorosis, neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the brain of rats receiving either 30 or 100 ppm fluoride in their drinking water for 7 months were analyzed in the present study employing ligand binding and Western blotting. There was a significant reduction in the number of [3H]epibatidine binding sites in the brain of rats exposed 100 ppm of fluoride, but no alteration after exposed to 30 ppm. On the other hand, the number of [125I]alpha-BTX binding sites was significantly decreased in the brains of rats exposed to both levels of fluoride. Western blotting revealed that the level of the nAChR alpha4 subunit protein in the brains of rats was significantly lowered by exposure to 100 ppm, but not 30 ppm fluoride; whereas the expression of the alpha7 subunit protein was significantly decreased by both levels of exposure. In contrast, there was no significant change in the level of the beta2 subunit protein in the brains of rats administered fluoride. Since nAChRs play major roles in cognitive processes such as learning and memory, the decrease in the number of nAChRs caused by fluoride toxicity may be an important factor in the mechanism of brain dysfunction in the disorder.