Effects on the central and peripheral nervous activity in rats elicited by acute administration of lead, mercury and manganese, and their combinations

J Appl Toxicol. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4):374-80. doi: 10.1002/jat.1152.


Adult male Wistar rats were treated with inorganic lead, mercury and manganese, and their double combinations, in acute application. The aim was to study the effects on spontaneous and stimulus-evoked cortical, and evoked peripheral, nervous activity, to detect any interaction of the metals and any correlation between the changes caused in the spontaneous and stimulus-evoked electrical activity of the primary somatosensory cortical area, and the compound action potential of the tail nerve. In the frequency distribution of the spontaneous cortical activity, a shift to lower frequencies was seen. The cortical responses evoked by whisker or tail stimulation showed an increase of the peak-to-peak amplitude and peak latency on administration of the metals and metal combinations. With the metal combinations, synergism was observed. Correlations found between alterations of the spontaneous and evoked, or between cortical and peripheral, activity were evaluated in terms of mechanism. According to the results, combined exposure to the three heavy metals studied might lead to synergistic action, indicating an increased health risk in settings with exposure to several heavy metals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electroencephalography
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory
  • Lead / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Manganese / toxicity*
  • Mercury / toxicity*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Peripheral Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tail / innervation
  • Vibrissae / innervation


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Mercury