Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date





Volume 7, Issue 2

Inclusive Pages

Article number e32029


Brain--drug effects; Carbon Monoxide--toxicity; Learning Disorders--chemically induced; Memory Disorders--chemically induced


Carbon monoxide (CO) exposure at high concentrations results in overt neurotoxicity. Exposure to low CO concentrations occurs commonly yet is usually sub-clinical. Infants are uniquely vulnerable to a variety of toxins, however, the effects of postnatal sub-clinical CO exposure on the developing brain are unknown. Apoptosis occurs normally within the brain during development and is critical for synaptogenesis. Here we demonstrate that brief, postnatal sub-clinical CO exposure inhibits developmental neuroapoptosis resulting in impaired learning, memory, and social behavior. Three hour exposure to 5 ppm or 100 ppm CO impaired cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, and apoptosis in neocortex and hippocampus of 10 day old CD-1 mice. CO increased NeuN protein, neuronal numbers, and resulted in megalencephaly. CO-exposed mice demonstrated impaired memory and learning and reduced socialization following exposure. Thus, CO-mediated inhibition of neuroapoptosis might represent an important etiology of acquired neurocognitive impairment and behavioral disorders in children.


Reproduced with permission of PLoS ONE.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access




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