Background: Formaldehyde is used in medicine and industry, and it is known to have detrimental effects on various systems including the nervous system, by increasing oxidative stress. However, data are scarce related to substances that can protect against the neurotoxicity induced by formaldehyde. Therefore, this study was designed to assess the protective effects of selenium against the toxic effect of this compound.

Methods: A total of 48 adult male mice were divided randomly into six groups, i.e., (1) control, (2) treated with formaldehyde, (3) treated with formaldehyde plus 0.1 mg/kg selenium, (4) treated with formaldehyde plus 0.2 mg/kg selenium, (5) treated with formaldehyde plus 0.4 mg/kg selenium, and (6) treated with formaldehyde plus 0.8 mg/kg selenium. At the end of 14 days, the cerebellums were removed for histological evaluation. Morphological changes were examined using Image J software. The data were analyzed using SPSS software version 20.0 and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Results: Formaldehyde caused a reduction in the numbers and sizes of Purkinje cells and granular cells; in addition, the thickness of the granular layer was thinner than that in the control mice (P < 0.05). Treatment with 0.1 mg/kg selenium resulted in an increase in the number of Purkinje cells as well as the area of the gray matter compared to those of the control mice. 

Conclusion: Formaldehyde-induced neuronal damage was prevented by the administration of 0.1 mg/kg selenium, hence this treatment shows therapeutic potential for the treatment of neurotoxicity.


Key words: formaldehyde, cerebellum, morphometric, mice, neurotoxicity, selenium  
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