BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Zinc oxide nanoparticles are one of the most widely used nanoparticles in fields of industry, medicine, pharmaceutical sciences, cosmetics, and nutrition. Multiple studies have demonstrated the negative effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles on the nervous system, while others have revealed their enhancing effects on the activity of nerve cells, involved in memory processes. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles and zinc oxide on long-term memory of mice.
METHODS: In this experimental study, 49 NMRI adult male mice, with the mean weight of 25±5 g, were randomly divided into seven groups, each consisting of seven mice: control group, three treatment groups receiving zinc oxide nanoparticles (1, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg of zinc oxide nanoparticles, respectively), and three treatment groups receiving zinc oxide (1, 2.5, and 5 mg/kg of zinc oxide, respectively). Intraperitoneal injections were performed before training (electric shock). Passive avoidance memory of mice was evaluated, using the Step-Down device. The latency time to descend the platform was regarded as an indicator of memory on days 1, 3, and 7 following training.
FINDINGS: Pre-training administration of zinc oxide nanoparticles and zinc oxide at a dose of 2.5 mg/kg yielded no effects on the motor activity of mice. However, a significant decline was reported in the latency time to descend the platform on days 1, 3, and 7 following training (58±17, 45±13, and 39±14 in the zinc oxide group and 93±18, 62±12, and 14±3 in the nano zinc oxide group, respectively) (p<0.01) however, the dosage of 5 mg/kg had less significant short-term effects (130±38, 49±14, and 68±10 in the zinc oxide group and 132±46, 41±13, and 58±24 in the nano zinc oxide group, respectively). Also, the dosage of 1 mg/kg was almost ineffective.
CONCLUSION: The results showed that weakened long-term memory, caused by zinc oxide administration, is not influenced by the size of particles.