Lanthanum Chloride Impairs Learning and Memory and Induces Dendritic Spine Abnormality by Down-Regulating Rac1/PAK Signaling Pathway in Hippocampus of Offspring Rats

  • Wenchang Sun
  • Jinghua YangEmail author
  • Yunting Hong
  • Hui Yuan
  • Jianbo Wang
  • Yanqiang Zhang
  • Xiaobo Lu
  • Cuihong Jin
  • Shengwen Wu
  • Yuan CaiEmail author
Original Research


Lanthanum (La) is a natural rare earth element. It has neurotoxic effects which can impair learning and memory in humans. However, its mechanism of neurotoxicity is unclear. Learning and memory are coordinated by dendritic spines which form tiny protruding structures on the dendritic branches of neurons. This study investigated the effect of LaCl3 exposure to pregnant and lactating rats on the offspring rats’ learning and memory ability. In this study, rats were divided into 4 groups and given distilled water solution containing 0%, 0.125%, 0.25%, 0.5% LaCl3, respectively, and this was done from conception to the end of the location. The effects of LaCl3 on spatial learning and memory ability in offspring rats and in the development of dendritic spines in CA1 pyramidal cells were investigated. The results showed that LaCl3 impaired spatial learning and memory ability in offspring rats, and decreased dendritic spine density during development. In addition, LaCl3 can affect the expression of CaMKII, miRNA132, p250GAP, Tiam1, PARD3, and down-regulated the activation of Rac1 which led to a decrease in the expression of Rac1/PAK signaling pathway and downstream regulatory proteins Cortactin and actin-related protein 2/3 complex (Arp2/3 complex). This study indicated that the learning and memory impairment and the decrease of dendritic spine density in the offspring of LaCl3 exposure may be related to the down-regulation of the Rac1/PAK signaling pathway regulated by Tiam1 and p250GAP.


Lanthanum Hippocampus Learning and memory Rac1 Dendritic spine 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81773469, 81373024, and 81673220).

Supplementary material

10571_2019_748_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Electronic supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wenchang Sun
    • 1
  • Jinghua Yang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yunting Hong
    • 1
  • Hui Yuan
    • 1
  • Jianbo Wang
    • 1
  • Yanqiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiaobo Lu
    • 1
  • Cuihong Jin
    • 1
  • Shengwen Wu
    • 1
  • Yuan Cai
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Toxicology, School of Public HealthChina Medical UniversityShenyangPeople’s Republic of China

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