Neurotoxicity of Prenatal Carbon Monoxide Exposure

Research Report 12, September 1987

This report describes a study by Dr. Fechter to investigate the effect of prenatal and neonatal exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide (CO) on the developing rat brain. Groups of rats were exposed prenatally, or prenatally plus 10 days neonatally to take into account the fact that the developing rat brain is considerably less mature at birth than the primate brain. Consequently, rats were exposed to CO concentrations ranging from 75-300 ppm through the period of neuronal proliferation and into the period of synapse formation. Neurochemical bioassays and histological observations were conducted to determine whether the hypoxia produced by CO would have any specific effects in different regions of the developing rat brain.