Neurotoxicity Research

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 736–745 | Cite as

Distinct Impacts of Fullerene on Cognitive Functions of Dementia vs. Non-dementia Mice

  • Yawen Wu
  • Runzi Wang
  • Yuexiang Wang
  • Jing Gao
  • Lina Feng
  • Zhuo YangEmail author
Original Article


Fullerene is a family of carbon materials widely applied in modern medicine and ecosystem de-contamination. Its wide application makes human bodies more and more constantly exposed to fullerene particles. Since fullerene particles are able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) (Yamago et al. 1995), if and how fullerene would affect brain functions need to be investigated for human health consideration. For this purpose, we administered fullerene on subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD) model mice and sham mice, two types of mice with distinct penetration properties of BBB and hence possibly distinct vulnerabilities to fullerene. We studied the spatial learning and memory abilities of mice with Morris water maze (MWM) and the neuroplasticity properties of the hippocampus. Results showed that fullerene administration suppressed outcomes of MWM in sham mice, along with suppressed long-term potentiation (LTP) and dendritic spine densities. Oppositely, recoveries of MWM outcomes and neuroplasticity properties were observed in fullerene-treated SIVD mice. To further clarify the mechanism of the impact of fullerene on neuroplasticity, we measured the levels of postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95), synaptophysin (SYP), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB) by western blot assay. Results suggest that the distinct impacts of fullerene on behavior test and neuroplasticity may be conducted through postsynaptic regulations that were mediated by BDNF.


Fullerene Subcortical ischemic vascular dementia (SIVD) Long-term potentiation (LTP) Hippocampus Neuroplasticity 


Author Contributions

Y. Wu, R. Wang, and Y. Wang equally contributed to this study. Y. Wu and R. Wang conducted most of the experiments and part of data analysis. Y. Wang designed experiments, conducted data analysis, and prepared the manuscript. J. Gao and L. Feng designed and conducted some of the experiments. Z. Yang designed the experiments and prepared the manuscript.

Funding Information

This study was financially supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81571804, 81771979 from Z. Yang) and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016M601250 from Y. Wang).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Medicine, State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, Key Laboratory of Bioactive Materials for Ministry of EducationNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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