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. Jan-Feb 2006;28(1):103-10.
doi: 10.1016/j.ntt.2005.10.002. Epub 2005 Nov 22.

Perinatal Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Compounds Alters Behavior and Brain in the Female Pine Vole

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Perinatal Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Compounds Alters Behavior and Brain in the Female Pine Vole

Miles Dean Engell et al. Neurotoxicol Teratol. .

Abstract

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic chemicals that arise from sources such as pesticides and have the ability to mimic or inhibit gonadal steroid hormones. The objective of this research was to examine the effects of EDCs on the behaviors associated with monogamy and the expression of related neuropeptide receptors. Pine voles, a novel experimental mammal, were chosen because they display strong monogamous pair bonding. Female pine voles were orally administered estrogenic diethylstilbestrol (DES) and methoxychlor (MXC) or oil control throughout gestation and lactation of pups. Exposed pups were tested as adults. Preference for the mate and maternal behaviors were assessed. While the ability to form partner preferences was intact, DES-exposed females showed increased aggression toward a stranger, while MXC exposed females showed a strong trend toward spending more time alone. Oxytocin (OT) receptor binding in the brain was assessed for possible effects on this behaviorally important neuropeptide signaling system. The cingulate cortex showed a reduction in OT binding in the MXC group. These findings demonstrate that exposure to EDCs during pre- and neonatal development can alter female adult neural phenotype and behavior related to monogamous behavior traits.

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