Potential role of organochlorine pesticides in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental, neurodegenerative, and neurobehavioral disorders: A review

Life Sci. 2016 Jan 15;145:255-64. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2015.11.006. Epub 2015 Nov 5.


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are persistent and bioaccumulative environmental contaminants with potential neurotoxic effects. The growing body of evidence has demonstrated that prenatal exposure to organochlorines (OCs) is associated with impairment of neuropsychological development. The hypothesis is consistent with recent studies emphasizing the correlation of environmental as well as genetic factors to the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental and neurobehavioral defects. It has been suggested that maternal exposure to OCPs results in impaired motor and cognitive development in newborns and infants. Moreover, in utero exposure to these compounds contributes to the etiology of autism. Although impaired neurodevelopment occurs through prenatal exposure to OCs, breastfeeding causes postnatal toxicity in the infants. Parkinson's disease (PD) is another neurological disorder, which has been associated with exposure to OCs, leading to α-synuclein accumulation and depletion of dopaminergic neurons. The study aimed to review the potential association between pre- and post-natal exposure to OCs and impaired neurodevelopmental processes during pregnancy and neuropsychological diseases such as PD, behavioral alterations, seizures and autism.

Keywords: Neurobehavioral disorder; Neurodegenerative disorder; Neurodevelopmental disorder; Organochlorine; Pesticide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autistic Disorder / chemically induced
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity*
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology*
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / etiology
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Seizures / chemically induced


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides