Umana K. and *Olorunfemi O. J.


This study examined the possible neurotoxic effects of Nigerian Bonny Light Crude Oil (NBLCO) by assessing antioxidant levels and cognito-motor functions in rats. Thirty healthy male and female albino rats of 12 weeks old weighing between 80-200g were used in this study. The rats were divided into four groups with group I serving as control, and were oral gavaged (distilled water at 1ml/kg body weight as placebo. Group II, III, and IV were given (0.5, 1, and 1.5ml/kg) body weight of NBLCO respectively by oral route. After the treatment period of six weeks, the animals were sacrificed and blood samples collected for analysis for markers of oxidative stress. The animals also underwent series of tests to assess their cognito-motor functions. The results obtained showed significant (P ≤ 0.05) increase in superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), and catalase (CAT) levels in serum when compared to control. Glutathione oxidase levels were significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lower in all the test groups when compared to control. The levels of protein decreased significantly (P ≤ 0.05) in group IV but decreased marginally in groups II and III. The mean time taken to finish the navigation maze test was significantly higher in all the test groups (on all three trials) when compared to control. Results for hand-grip tests showed that significant decrease in all the test groups when compared to control. The mean time taken to cross the beam was significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher in all the test groups when compared to control. The larger implications of these findings suggest oxidative stress induced by crude oil with consequent decline in neuronal functions in the rats. It is therefore concluded that chronic ingestion of crude oil has the potential to induce oxidative stress, which may lead to cognito-motor dysfunction. Future studies will focus on the precise role of oxidant molecules in Listeria in neuro-pathogenesis. This work increases our understanding of the possible role of crude oil misuse in neurodegenerative processes including memory loss.

Keywords: Crude oil, Neurotoxicity, Handgrip, NBLCO, Cognito-motor, Navigation.

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