Effects of xenoestrogens on the differentiation of behaviorally-relevant neural circuits

Embryonic exposure to diethylstilbestrol and behavioral impairment

2007 Study Abstract

It has become increasingly clear that environmental chemicals have the capability of impacting endocrine function. Moreover, these endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have long term consequences on adult reproductive function, especially if exposure occurs during embryonic development thereby affecting sexual differentiation.

Effects of xenoestrogens on the differentiation of behaviorally-relevant neural circuits, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, NCBI PubMed PMID: 17868795, 2007 Oct.

Image credit Lew (tomswift) Holzman.

Of the EDCs, most of the research has been conducted on the effects of estrogen active compounds. Although androgen active compounds are also present in the environment, much less information is available about their action.However, in the case of xenoestrogens, there is mounting evidence for long-term consequences of early exposure at a range of doses.

In this review, we present data relative to two widely used animal models: the mouse and the Japanese quail. These two species long have been used to understand neural, neuroendocrine, and behavioral components of reproduction and are therefore optimal models to understand how these components are altered by precocious exposure to EDCs.

In particular we discuss effects of bisphenol A and methoxychlor on the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems in rodents and the impact of these alterations. In addition, the effects of embryonic exposure to diethylstilbestrol, genistein or ethylene,1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) is reviewed relative to behavioral impairment and associated alterations in the sexually dimorphic parvocellular vasotocin system in quail.

We point out how sexually dimorphic behaviors are particularly useful to verify adverse developmental consequences produced by chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties, by examining either reproductive or non-reproductive behaviors.

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