Uranium (U) is a heavy metal which occurs naturally in the environment. It is both a
chemical and a radiological toxicant.
The aim of this work was:
- to assess the effects of U chronic exposure on the cholinergic system (biosynthesis and breakdown enzymes, receptors …) and on behaviour of adult, young or predisposed to neurodegenerative illness (ApoE KO) rodents;
- to grasp the neurotoxic effects of U on human neuronal cells.
In vivo, this work shows a structure- (cortex more sensitive than hippocampus), rodent model- (young more sensitive than adults), time- (sub-chronic exposure more harmful than chronic exposure), exposure level- and isotope-dependent effect of U.
In vitro, the study underlined the neurocytotoxic U potential and the presence of uranium precipitates in cells. These results show the deleterious impact of U on neuronal cells, and demonstrate that U induces impairments on the cholinergic system and the behaviour of rodents.