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Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2016;29:231-64. doi: 10.1007/7854_2015_416.

Early-Life Toxic Insults and Onset of Sporadic Neurodegenerative Diseases-an Overview of Experimental Studies.

Author information

1
Unit of Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology, Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy.
2
Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Rome "Sapienza", Viale dell'Università 30, 00185, Rome, Italy.
3
Unit of Neurotoxicology and Neuroendocrinology, Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy. gemma.calamandrei@iss.it.

Abstract

The developmental origin of health and disease hypothesis states that adverse fetal and early childhood exposures can predispose to obesity, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) in adult life. Early exposure to environmental chemicals interferes with developmental programming and induces subclinical alterations that may hesitate in pathophysiology and behavioral deficits at a later life stage. The mechanisms by which perinatal insults lead to altered programming and to disease later in life are still undefined. The long latency between exposure and onset of disease, the difficulty of reconstructing early exposures, and the wealth of factors which the individual is exposed to during the life course make extremely difficult to prove the developmental origin of NDDs in clinical and epidemiological studies. An overview of animal studies assessing the long-term effects of perinatal exposure to different chemicals (heavy metals and pesticides) supports the link between exposure and hallmarks of neurodegeneration at the adult stage. Furthermore, models of maternal immune activation show that brain inflammation in early life may enhance adult vulnerability to environmental toxins, thus supporting the multiple hit hypothesis for NDDs' etiology. The study of prospective animal cohorts may help to unraveling the complex pathophysiology of sporadic NDDs. In vivo models could be a powerful tool to clarify the mechanisms through which different kinds of insults predispose to cell loss in the adult age, to establish a cause-effect relationship between "omic" signatures and disease/dysfunction later in life, and to identify peripheral biomarkers of exposure, effects, and susceptibility, for translation to prospective epidemiological studies.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer’s disease; Exposome; Heavy metals; Maternal immune activation; Neurodevelopment; Parkinson’s disease; Pesticides

PMID:
26695168
DOI:
10.1007/7854_2015_416
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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