Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Neurotransmitters and Behavioral Alterations Induced by Nickel Exposure


María Isabel Martínez-Martínez , Isabel Muñoz-Fambuena and Omar Cauli *   Pages 1 - 7 ( 7 )


Background: Nickel ions (Ni2+) is a heavy metal with wide industrial uses. Environmental and occupational exposures to Ni are potential risk factors for brain dysfunction and behavioral and neurological symptoms in humans.

Method: We reviewed the current evidence about neurochemical and behavioral alterations associated to Ni exposure in laboratory animals and humans.

Results: Ni2+ exposure can alter (both inhibition and stimulation) of dopamine release and inhibit glutamate NMDA receptors. Few reports claim an effect of Ni2+ at the level of GBA and serotonin neurotransmission. At behavioral levels, exposure to Ni2+ in rodents alters motor activity, learning and memory as well anxiety and depressive-like symptoms. However, no analysis of dose-dependent relationship has been studied regarding these effects and the levels of the Ni2+ in brain, in blood or urine.

Conclusion: Further research is needed to correlate the concentration of Ni2+ in biological fluids with specific symptoms/deficits. Future studies addressing the impact of Ni2+ under environmental or occupational exposure should use administration protocols leading to Ni2+ levels similar found in general population or occupationally exposed workers.


Nickel, Brain, Behaviour, Neurotransmitter, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA


Department of Nursing, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Environmental Sciences, Alauda Company, 46009 Valencia, Department of Nursing, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia

Read Full-Text article