Georgia Journal of Science


Fluoride ions have been implicated in numerous nervous system pathologies, though the association of these ions with these conditions has been controversial. The purpose of this research is to determine the effects that fluoride ions have on the nervous system development and function in planarians as a simple model for fluoride-nervous system interactions. In the first set of experiments, planarians were exposed to one of four concentrations of sodium fluoride: 0 mM, 1 mM, 1 mM, and 5 mM. In the second set of experiments, planarians were bisected and exposed to 1 mM of NaCl and NaF for regeneration purposes. Regenerated planarians were then stained using Luxol staining methods to determine any physical effects of fluoride on nervous system regeneration. The results showed that swimming activity decreased with increasing levels of fluoride ions, suggesting an inhibition of nervous system activity by fluoride. Additionally, planarians that regenerated in the presence of NaF lacked key structural nervous system components, suggesting a negative impact on the system. It was concluded that fluoride ions negatively impact nervous system activity and development in planarians and possibly in similar organisms.


The Williams Laboratory would like to thank the Albany State University Department of Natural and Forensic Sciences for providing resources and laboratory space to conduct this research. The laboratory would also like to thank the Florida Georgia Alliance for Minority Participation for support and funding. Dr. Williams would also like to thank Qurat Ain and Kimberly Gaines for technical support in conducting these experiments.