Open waste dump sites are a common spectacle in Nigeria. These sites may cause neurotoxicity to people dwelling in their vicinity. Hence, the present study investigated the effects of long-term habitation at the vicinity of refuse dump sites on motor, mood and cognitive behaviours in rats, as well as on cerebellar histology. Young adult male Wistar rats, approximately 70 days old, were used for this study. Rats were housed in the vicinity of a refuse dump site for 8 months. At the end of 8 months rats were subjected to neurobehavioural studies in the open-field test (OFT), elevated-plus maze (EPM) and Morris water maze (MWM). Following behavioural studies, the cerebellum was excised and prepared for routine Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining protocol. Results showed significant difference (p<0.05) on motor parameters of the OFT between exposed rats and control. Also, exposed rats showed significantly lower (P<0.05) % time in open arms on the EPM, and significantly higher (p<0.001) latency in the MWM. Histological studies revealed alterations to the cerebellar white core as well as degenerative changes of the Purkinje cells. This study therefore shows that long-term habitation in the vicinity of refuse dump site may be injurious to brain structures accompanied with behavioural defects.
Key words: Refuse dump, behaviour, motor, cerebellum, rats.
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