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Toxicol Lett. 2009 Aug 25;189(1):40-7. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.04.005. Epub 2009 Apr 11.

Fetal and neonatal exposure to three typical environmental chemicals with different mechanisms of action: mixed exposure to phenol, phthalate, and dioxin cancels the effects of sole exposure on mouse midbrain dopaminergic nuclei.

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  • 1Laboratory of Functional Morphology, Department of Animal Science, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkodai, Nada-ku, Kobe 657-8501, Japan.


A major question is whether exposure to mixtures of low-dose endocrine disruptors (EDs) having different action mechanisms affects neurodevelopment differently than exposure to EDs individually. We therefore investigated the effects of fetal and neonatal exposure to three typical EDs - bisphenol A (BPA), di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP), and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) - on the midbrain dopaminergic system associated with functions - including motor activity, emotion, and cognition - affected by neuropsychiatric diseases such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ICR mouse dams and their pups were orally treated with BPA (5mg/(kg day)), DEHP (1mg/(kg day)), or TCDD (8ng/kg) individually, or with mixtures thereof, to compare the effects between sole and mixed administration. We analyzed tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)- and Fos-immunoreactive (ir) neurons as markers of dopamine and neuronal activation, respectively. The numbers of TH- and/or Fos-ir neurons and the intensity of TH-immunoreactivity within midbrain dopaminergic nuclei (A9, A10, and A8) of each sole administration group significantly differed from controls at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of age. In contrast, no significant differences were detected in the mixture groups, suggesting counteractions among those chemicals. These results indicate that ED mixtures as pollution have unique and elusive effects. Thyroid hormones and/or aryl hydrocarbon receptor-related mechanisms may be responsible for this counteraction.

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