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Neurotoxicology. 2012 Dec;33(6):1420-1426. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2012.08.009. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Sex dimorphic behaviors as markers of neuroendocrine disruption by environmental chemicals: the case of chlorpyrifos.

Author information

1
Section of Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology, Dept. Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.
2
Section of Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology, Dept. Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy. Electronic address: laura.ricceri@iss.it.
3
Section of Food and Veterinary Toxicology, Dept. Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

The complexity of the neuroendocrine level of investigation requires the assessment of behavioral patterns that extend beyond the reproductive functions, which are age- and sex-specific in rodents, described by defined clusters of behavioral items regulated by genetic, hormonal, and epigenetic factors. The study of social behavior in laboratory rodents reveals sex-dimorphic effects of environmental chemicals that may be undetected either by a traditional neurotoxicological approach or referring to the classical definition of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Here we review data on the neurobehavioral effects of developmental exposure to the non-persistent organophosphorus insecticide chlorpyrifos, whose neurotoxic activity at low doses is currently a matter of concern for children's health. In mice exposed to chlorpyrifos in utero and/or in early development social/emotional responses are differently affected in the two sexes in parallel with sex-dependent interference on hypothalamic neuroendocrine pathways regulating social behaviors (vasopressin, oxytocin, and steroid regulated systems). Through the analysis of complex sex-dimorphic behavioral patterns we show that neurotoxic and endocrine disrupting activities of CPF overlap. This widely diffused organophosphorus pesticide might thus be considered as a neuroendocrine disruptor possibly representing a risk factor for sex-biased neurodevelopmental disorders in children.

PMID:
22947518
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuro.2012.08.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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