Chronic dietary chlorpyrifos causes long-term spatial memory impairment and thigmotaxic behavior

Caridad López-Granero, Ana M. Ruiz-Muñoz, Francisco A. Nieto-Escámez, María T. Colomina, Michael Aschner, Fernando Sánchez-Santed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Little is known about the long-term effects of chronic exposure to low-level organophosphate (OP) pesticides, and the role of neurotransmitter systems, other than the cholinergic system, in mediating OP neurotoxicity. In this study, rats were administered 5 mg/kg/day of chlorpyrifos (CPF) for 6 months commencing at 3-months-of-age. The animals were examined 7 months later (at 16-months-of-age) for spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze (MWM) and locomotor activity. In addition, we assessed the chronic effects of CPF on glutamatergic and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) function using pharmacological challenges with dizocilpine (MK801) and diazepam. Impaired performance related to altered search patterns, including thigmotaxis and long-term spatial memory was noted in the MWM in animals exposed to CPF, pointing to dietary CPF-induced behavioral disturbances, such as anxiety. Twenty-four hours after the 31st session of repeated acquisition task, 0.1 mg/kg MK801, an N-methyl-. d-aspartate (NMDA) antagonist was intraperitoneally (i.p.) injected for 4 consecutive days. Decreased latencies in the MWM in the control group were noted after two sessions with MK801 treatment. Once the MWM assessment was completed, animals were administered 0.1 or 0.2 mg/kg of MK801 and 1 or 3 mg/kg of diazepam i.p., and tested for locomotor activity. Both groups, the CPF dietary and control, displayed analogous performance in motor activity. In conclusion, our data point to a connection between the long-term spatial memory, thigmotaxic response and CPF long after the exposure ended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Chlorpyrifos dietary
  • Chronic
  • GABAergic system
  • Glutamatergic system
  • Long-term spatial memory
  • Thigmotaxis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic dietary chlorpyrifos causes long-term spatial memory impairment and thigmotaxic behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this