Neurotoxicity of dibutyl phthalate in brain development following perinatal exposure: a study in rats.

TitleNeurotoxicity of dibutyl phthalate in brain development following perinatal exposure: a study in rats.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLi X-J, Jiang L, Chen L, Chen H-S, Li X
JournalEnvironmental toxicology and pharmacology
Date Published2013 Sep

Dibutyl-phthalate (DBP) is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant. However, its neurotoxic effects on neonatal, immature or mature brains remain unclear. Here, we aimed to investigate the neurotoxicity of perinatal exposure of DBP on rodent offspring animals. Pregnant rats received intragastric DBP (500mg/kg body weight) daily from gestational day (GD) 6 to postnatal day (PND) 21. Animals in the control group received the same volume of edible corn oil. Brain sections or tissues from offspring rats on PND5, PND21 and PND60 were collected for analysis. Histological examination demonstrated that perinatal exposure of DBP resulted in hippocampal neuron loss and structural alternation in neonatal and immature offspring rats (PND5 and PND21), while no significant change was found in mature rats (PND60). DBP exposure induced cell apoptosis in hippocampal neurons of these neonatal and immature animals, as evidenced by the increased number of TUNEL-positive and Annexin V-propidium iodide (PI) positive cells and up-regulated caspase-3 activity. Moreover, DBP exposure decreased the expression of synaptophysin in the hippocampus and reduced both the slope and amplitude of field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs). DBP also impaired the spatial learning and memory of offspring rats. However, no significant difference in the susceptibility to DBP-induced neurotoxicity was found between male and female offspring rats. Our findings indicated that perinatal exposure of DBP could induce neurotoxicity in neonatal and immature offspring animals, but had no influence on mature animals after DBP withdrawal. These results may provide basic experimental evidence for better understanding the neurotoxic effects of DBP on neonatal, immature and mature brains.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Toxicol. Pharmacol.