Mice exposure to tannery effluents changes their olfactory capacity, and their response to predators and to the inhibitory avoidance test.
The bovine leather processing (tanning industries) stands as a generating activity of potentially toxic waste. The emission of untreated effluents into the environment may cause serious harm to human and environmental health. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the possible effects of intake of these effluents in experimental mammalian models. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the neurobehavioral effects of chronic intake of different tannery effluent concentrations diluted with water (0.1, 1, and 5%) in male C57BL/6J mice. After 120 days of exposure, the animals were subjected to different behavioral tests, predictive of anxiety (elevated plus maze (EPM), open-field (OF), and neophobia test), depression (forced swim), and memory deficits (object recognition test). From the EPM test, it was observed that the mice exposed to 0.1, 1, and 5% of tannery effluents showed higher anxiety scores compared to the animals in the control group. However, the results of this study revealed no differences among the experimental groups in the proportion (percentage) of locomotion in the central quarters/total locomotion calculated (by OF), considered an indirect measure for anxiety. At neophobia test, all the animals exposed to chronic intake of tannery effluents showed higher latency time to start eating, which corresponds to an anxiogenic behavior. Regarding the forced swim test, it was observed that the animals exposed to tannery effluents had longer time in immobility behavior, suggesting a predictive behavior to depression. Finally, the object recognition test showed that the treatments did not cause damage to the animals' memory. The recognition rate of the new object did not differ among the experimental groups. Thus, it is concluded that male C57BL/6J mice (inbred strain) exposed to tannery effluents have predictive neurobehavioral changes of anxiety and depression, without memory deficit.