Effects of maternal exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on fetal brain growth and motor and behavioral development in offspring rats

Toxicol Lett. 2007 Aug 30;173(1):41-7. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2007.06.007. Epub 2007 Jun 20.


The effects of maternal exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) during pregnancy on fetal brain growth and neurobehavioral development in early developmental stages were investigated using rat offspring. TCDD in corn-oil (0.1microg/kg) was orally administrated to the dams from the 9th to 19th gestational day. When TCDD effects on the fetal brain weight were analyzed on the 19th gestational day, weight ratio of the brain to the whole body, and that of the forebrain without the cerebral cortex to the whole brain were larger in the exposed group than those of the control group, suggesting premature fetal brain development. TCDD effects on motor functions were investigated using newborns in an inclined plane task. Motor development assessed by righting response on an inclination was delayed in the exposed offspring in the 8th-12th postnatal day, especially in male. Also, TCDD effects on active avoidance behavior in a shuttle box were investigated using the offspring after weaning. Latency in the active avoidance learning was longer, and locomotor activity was reduced in the exposed male offspring in the 41st-44th postnatal day. The results demonstrated that maternal TCDD exposure delayed fetal brain growth and neurodevelopment of the offspring in early stage, especially in male rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / pathology
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects*
  • Gestational Age
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Motor Skills / drug effects*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reaction Time / drug effects


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins