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Toxicology. 2008 May 21;247(2-3):73-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Effect of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid on rat maternal behavior.

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Laboratorio de Toxicología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Suipacha 570, 2000 Rosario, Argentina.


Exposure to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) has several deleterious effects on the nervous system such as alterations in the concentrations of neurotransmitters in the brain and/or behavioral changes, myelination rate, ganglioside pattern [Bortolozzi, A., Duffard, R., Antonelli, M., Evangelista de Duffard, A.M., 2002. Increased sensitivity in dopamine D(2)-like brain receptors from 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)-exposed and amphetamine-challenged rats. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 965, 314-323; Duffard, R., García, G., Rosso, S., Bortolozzi, A., Madariaga, M., DiPaolo, O., Evangelista de Duffard, A.M., 1996. Central nervous system myelin deficit in rats exposed to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid throughout lactation. Neurotoxicol. Teratol. 18, 691-696; Evangelista de Duffard, A.M., Orta, C., Duffard, R., 1990. Behavioral changes in rats fed a diet containing 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic butyl ester. Neurotoxicology 11, 563-572; Evangelista de Duffard, A.M., Bortolozzi, A., Duffard, R.O., 1995. Altered behavioral responses in 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid treated and amphetamine challenged rats. Neurotoxicology 16, 479-488; Munro, I.C., Carlo, G.L., Orr, J.C., Sund, K., Wilson, R.M. Kennepohl, E. Lynch, B., Jablinske, M., Lee, N., 1992. A comprehensive, integrated review and evaluation of the scientific evidence relating to the safety of the herbicide 2,4-D. J. Am. Coll. Toxicol. 11, 559-664; Rosso et al., 2000], and its administration to pregnant and lactating rats adversely affects litter growth and milk quality. Since normal growth of the offspring depends on adequate maternal nursing and care, we evaluated the effect of 2,4-D on rat maternal behavior as well as the dam's monoamine levels in arcuate nucleus (AcN) and serum prolactin (PRL) levels. Wistar dams were exposed to the herbicide through the food from post partum day (PPD) 1 to PPD 7. Dams were fed either with a 2,4-D treated diet (15, 25 or 50mg 2,4-D/kg/daybw) or with a control diet. We observed that maternal nesting behavior was not modified by 2,4-D treatment. However, mother-pup interactions, specially the nursing behavior, were altered. Retrieval, crouching and licking of pups were reduced or suspended after 2,4-D treatment. We also observed an increase in the latency of retrieval and crouching in the dams treated with the herbicide. Dams showed movement along cage peripheries, food consumption during the light phase and high self-grooming. In addition of the deficits observed in maternal behavior parameters, increased catecholamine levels and a drastic decrease in indolamine levels in the AcN of treated dams were determined. Serum PRL levels were also diminished by 62%, 68% and 70% with respect to control dams in the 15, 25 and 50mg 2,4-D/kgbw treated dams, respectively. In conclusion, exposure to 2,4-D during the first post partum days produced changes in maternal behavior, serum prolactin and monoamine levels in the AcN of treated dams.

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