Age- and dose-dependent effects of neonatal monosodium glutamate (MSG) administration to female rats

R. Dawson, J. W. Simpkins, D. R. Wallace

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8 Scopus citations


The age- and dose-dependent effects of neonatal MSG were evaluated in pre- and postpubertal female rats. The neurotoxic action of MSG was assessed by examining monoamine content in microdissected regions of the mediobasal hypothalamus. MSG was administered at a dose of 4 mg/g on postnatal days 2 and 4 (MSG-Lo) or on postnatal days 2, 4, 6 and 8 (MSG-Hi). MSG-Hi treatment significantly reduced dopamine (DA) content in the arcuate nucleus (ANH) and lateral median eminence (LME) on postnatal day 21 when compared to NaCl-injected controls. DA content relative to controls was not altered in the ANH or LME postnatal or postnatal day 60 in MSG-Hi, however, norepinephrine (NE) was significantly (p<0.05) decreased on both postnatal day 21 and 60 in the LME. MSG-Lo treatment significantly (p<0.05) reduced ANH NE content on postnatal day 60 compared to controls. Both MSG-Hi and MSG-Lo treatment increased 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid content in the preoptic area (POA) on postnatal day 60 relative to the controls. Developmental changes independent of MSG treatment were noted in the hypothalamus. DA and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) content in the POA were 2-3-fold higher on postnatal day 21 compared to postnatal day 60. In contrast, DA content increased with age in the ANH, LME and medial ME. NE content in the ANH increased as a function of age in controls, but not in MSG-treated rats. The effects of MSG treatment on the postnatal development and maturation of neurons in the mediobasal hypothalamus were discussed in relation to the direct neurotoxicity of MSG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989


  • Arcuate nucleus
  • Developmental neurochemistry
  • Dopamine
  • Excitotoxin
  • Median eminence
  • Monosodium glutamate


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