Fluoride is added to water due to its anticariogenic activity. However, due to its natural presence in soils and reservoirs at high levels, it could be a potential environmental toxicant. This study investigated whether prolonged exposure to fluoride from adolescence to adulthood-at concentrations commonly found in artificially fluoridated water and in fluorosis endemic areas-is associated with memory and learning impairments in mice, and assessed the molecular and morphological aspects involved. For this endeavor, 21-days-old mice received 10 or 50 mg/L of fluoride in drinking water for 60 days and the results indicated that the increased plasma fluoride bioavailability was associated with the triggering of short- and long-term memory impairments after high F concentration levels. These changes were associated with modulation of the hippocampal proteomic profile, especially of proteins related to synaptic communication, and a neurodegenerative pattern in the CA3 and DG. From a translational perspective, our data provide evidence of potential molecular targets of fluoride neurotoxicity in the hippocampus at levels much higher than that in artificially fluoridated water and reinforce the safety of exposure to low concentrations of fluoride. In conclusion, prolonged exposure to the optimum fluoride level of artificially fluoridated water was not associated with cognitive impairments, while a higher concentration associated with fluorosis triggered memory and learning deficits, associated with a neuronal density reduction in the hippocampus.
*Original full-text article online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37422569/