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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Cholinergic Contributions to the Effects of Early Lead Exposure

EPA Grant Number: U915393
Title: Cholinergic Contributions to the Effects of Early Lead Exposure
Investigators: Driscoll, Lori D.
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: August 1, 1998 through July 1, 2001
Project Amount: $90,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998)
Research Category: Fellowship - Psychology , Economics and Decision Sciences , Academic Fellowships



The objectives of this research project are to: (1) characterize the specific behavioral processes that underlie lead (Pb)-induced changes in explicit memory; (2) determine whether early postnatal Pb exposure produces deficits in sustained attention; and (3) assess the degree to which the cholinergic system contributes to the effects of Pb on accuracy, motivation, and motor function in both tasks.


Explicit memory was assessed in a radial arm maze with varying retention intervals (0, 4, and 8 hours) imposed halfway through the task. Long-term and short-term memory errors, as well as speed and latency measures, were recorded. Adult rats exposed to Pb from birth through weaning or chronically were compared to age-matched controls. An automated vigilance task, in which a brief light cue was presented over one of three funnel-shaped ports, was utilized in the assessment of sustained attention. The animals were food reinforced for a nose poke into the funnel under the light, which appeared after an unpredictable delay (0, 3, 6, or 9 seconds) and remained illuminated for an unpredictable cue duration (200, 400, or 700 milliseconds). Responses made prior to the light presentation were considered incorrect, providing a measure of inhibitory control. Subjects in the sustained attention task consisted of adult rats exposed to Pb from birth through weaning and controls.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, lead exposure, Pb, human health, dose response, sensitive populations, animal, heavy metals, psychological, social science, histology, memory, cholinergic system, rats., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, National Recommended Water Quality, Toxicology, Health Risk Assessment, Chemistry, HAPS, Biochemistry, Children's Health, Biology, 33/50, behavioral effects, chronic lead exposure, Lead Compounds, lead, lead & lead compounds, developmental lead exposure, cognitive effects of lead, childhood lead exposure, neurochemical effects, lead exposure, amelioration of lead effects, dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA)

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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