Background: The aim of this study is to establish a single and combined intoxication model of fluoride and aluminum so as to observe the impact of these chemicals on the learning and memory ability and the pathologic changes in brain of rats.
Methods: Forty male Wistar rats were randomly assigned into control (distilled water), fluoride (50 mg/ L F-), aluminum (100 mg?L Al3+) and combined groups (50 mg?L F- and 100 mg?L Al3+), the experiment lasted for 3 months. The short-term memory ability and learning and memory ability of rats were then assessed using Y maze and Morris water maze, respectively. At the same time, the concentrations of fluoride and aluminum in urine and brain were measured. The pathologic and microstructural changes in the hippocampus were observed via light microscope and transmission electron microscopy, and the expression of the A?1-42 protein was detected by use of immunohistochemistry.
Results: The results showed that the learning and memory ability of each toxicant-exposed group was decreased, the most severe was in the aluminum group, followed by combined group, and the lightest was in the fluoride group. Although there was no significant difference between all groups, both fluoride and aluminum could lower the short-term memory ability of rats. In addition, different pathologic and microstructural changes were seen in fluoride, aluminum and combined groups. Compared with the control group, the expression of A?1-42 protein in aluminum group was highest, followed by combined group, and that in fluoride group was lowest.
Conclusions: In conclusion, combined intake of fluoride and aluminum may alleviate the deficits to learning and memory ability caused by aluminum intoxication.