Chlorpyrifos, O,O-diethyl-O-(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridyl) phosphorothioate, is an organophosphate insecticide known to be present in human urine. In utero exposure to chlorpyrifos may cause long-term hormonal and behavior alterations. In this study mice were exposed to 0, 1 or 5mg/kg chlorpyrifos on gestational days 17-20. In utero exposed mice were then tested in a novel foraging behavior maze and assayed for thyroid hormones. Free Thyroxine Index increased significantly in females, but not males. Learning latency and reduced learning ability was evident during training sessions 5-9 in female mice exposed to 1 or 5mg/kg chlorpyrifos. No learning deficiencies were observed in male mice. No differences were seen in behavior when using a standard radial arm maze during the nine training sessions. These data suggest that mice are susceptible to neuro-endocrine reprogramming by chlorpyrifos, and demonstrate the efficacy of the novel foraging maze as an efficient behavior assay tool.
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