Developmental exposure to organophosphate insecticide is well known to induce neurobeha-vioral impairments, at late period. The present study aims to investigate the effects of chronic exposure to Malathion, from in utero to young adult stage, on locomotor skills and anxiety like- behavior among wistar rat. Four groups of female rats, bred with one non-pesticide exposed male, are used. On gestational day 6, three groups receive daily, by intragastric gavage, 3 different doses of Malathion dissolved in corn oil (100, 200 and 300 mg/kg body weight). The control group receives the corn oil only. On postnatal day 21, weaned offsprings are submitted to the similar treatment until adult age. Spontaneous locomotor activity is evaluated using the Open-Field test (OF) and anxiety-like behavior is measured using both Open-Field (OF) test and Elevate Plus-Maze (EPM). Malathion at 300 mg/kg is toxic to pregnant dams, and pups are stillborns. In males, Malathionlevelat 100 and 200 mg/kg induced significant impairment of spontaneous locomotor activities, which is reflected by high decrease of number of squares crossed in OF. In contrast, no discernible changes are observed within females Malathion-treated-group. However, females exposed to both malathion levels develop further anxiety-like response, expressed by significant reductions of exploratory activities in OF and time spent in open arm of EPM. Neurochemistry assay shows that cerebellum and neocortex acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity inhibition are significantly increased with neurobehavioral deficits in males, relative to females. Overall, neurobehavioral outcomes of current study reveal that developmental exposure to Malathion induces sex-selective effects with greater changes in females.
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