Copper and zinc play important roles in the metabolic functions of the central nervous system. The effect of the chelating agent diethyl-dithiocarbamate (DDC) on the nervous system may be related to its effect on the kinetics and distribution of these essential metals. This study was designed to investigate the effects of DDC on copper and zinc concentrations in specific regions of the brain following both acute and repeated treatment. Acute treatment (250 mg/kg) had no effect on copper or zinc concentrations in brain regions at 24 hr while repeated treatment (250 mg/kg five times per week for 4 weeks) increased copper levels in the brain stem, cortex, hippocampus, and the rest of the brain but did not alter zinc concentrations in any brain regions. Many of the observed effects of DDC on distribution may be attributed to the formation of lipid-soluble DDC-metal complexes.
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