Perinatal Exposure to a Mixture of Common Low-Dose Phthalates and Flame Retardants Leads to Autistic Features in Rats

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Poster Previews, and Posters
Session: THR 290-304-Developmental Regulation of Gene Expression and Its Susceptibility to Endocrine Disruptors
Thursday, March 5, 2015: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hall D-F, Gene Regulation, EDCs, & Signaling (San Diego Convention Center)

Poster Board THR-290
Stephanie Degroote, Darel Hunting and Larissa Takser
University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological data suggests that prenatal exposure to either phthalates or flame retardants can affect mental and motor development, and can provoke internalizing behavior and attention deficit. We hypothesize that the simultaneous exposure to low-dose phthalates and flame retardants, which are endocrine disruptors, can alter brain development and lead to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

OBJECTIVE: To characterize behavior relevant to ASD feature in rat offspring exposed prenatally to a mixture of low-dose phthalates and flame retardants (DEHP, DBP, DiNP, BDE-47, BDE-99).

METHODS: Pregnant Lewis rats were divided in three groups: negative control, exposed to the mixture of endocrine disruptors, and a positive control for autistic feature in rat well-established in the literature, the valproic acid induced model of autism. Following prenatal exposure by daily gavage, behavioral tests were administered to offspring: nest-seeking behavior, auditory startle reflex, open field, elevated plus maze, prepulse inhibition and test of social interactions.

RESULTS: Offspring exposed to the mixture of phthalates and PBDEs showed hyperactivity and altered sensorimotor gating, and males specifically had lower maternal bonding and feminization in their social behavior. Three of five dams exposed to valproic acid did not have delivery, and offspring from the two remaining dams had a general developmental delay associated to their autistic features.

CONCLUSIONS: Low-dose phthalates and flame retardants exposure provoke alterations in all behaviors tested relevant for autistic features. The dosage of valproic acid used for the rat model of autism provokes teratogenicity and dosage should be diminished in order to have a more specific behavioral model of autism.

Nothing to Disclose: SD, DH, LT

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