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Dynamic monitoring of depressive behavior induced by nonylphenol and its effect on synaptic plasticity in rats

Yu, Jie, Xu, Weihong, Luo, Ya, Ou, Wei, Li, Shengnan, Chen, Xu, Xu, Jie
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.689 pp. 1012-1022
blood serum, corn oil, corticosterone, cytoplasm, dendrites, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, etiology, forced swimming test, laboratory animals, models, monitoring, neuroplasticity, neurotoxicity, nonylphenols, rats, staining, subchronic exposure, sucrose, swimming, transmission electron microscopes
The etiology of depression is not known, it is thought that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) contribute to the disease. Results of our previous research have shown that nonylphenol (NP), a well-known EDC, has neurotoxic effects, however, whether NP can induce depressive behavior by affecting synaptic plasticity has not yet been clearly elucidated. The depressive behavior induced by subchronic exposure to NP and its effect on the neuronal synaptic plasticity in rats are dynamically observed. Thirty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 3 groups: control group (C, corn oil), NP group (NP, 4 mg/kg), and depression model group (D, corticosterone 20 mg/kg). There were 8 rats in each group. The depressive behavior of rats was tested by sucrose preference test, open-field test, and forced swimming test once a month for 3 months. The serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and corticosterone were detected by ELISA assay, and cellular morphological changes were observed by hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining. The number of nerve cells, the length of dendrites, and the density of dendritic spines were observed by Golgi staining, and the synaptic cleft width, the postsynaptic density (PSD) thickness, and the synaptic interface curvature were observed by transmission electron microscope. Compared with the control group, the consumption of sucrose solution decreased in the NP group at the 2nd and 3rd month compared to the 1st month (F = 9.887, P = 0.002). The number of central square entries, the central square duration, and the total distance of movement were all decreased, and the decreasing degrees at the 3rd month were greater than those at the 1st month (F = 21.191, P < 0.001; F = 9.836, P = 0.002). The time of immobility for the NP group at the 1st month was higher than that in the control group (F = 6.912, P = 0.002). The expression of BDNF in the NP-treated group was higher than the control, while the expression of corticosterone in the NP-treated group was lower than the control. In the NP group, the cytoplasm of nerve cells contracted and appeared disordered. The neuron arrangement was disordered, and the number of cells, the length of the apex, the length of the basal dendrites, and the dendritic spine density were all lower in the NP group than those in the control group. The PSD thickness, the synaptic cleft width, and synaptic interface curvatures were all decreased in the NP group when compared to the control group. Subchronic exposure to 4 mg/kg NP led to depressive behavior in rats, and the depressive behavior and alterations in synaptic plasticity were more obvious with longer exposure time.