Title: Exposure to prenatal PCBs shifts the timing of neurogenesis in the hypothalamus of developing rats.
Authors: Hernandez Scudder, Morgan E; Kunkel, Marcela Nicole; Gore, Andrea C
Published In J Exp Zool A Ecol Integr Physiol, (2020 10)
Abstract: The developing brain is highly sensitive to the hormonal milieu, with gonadal steroid hormones involved in neurogenesis, neural survival, and brain organization. Limited available evidence suggests that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may perturb these developmental processes. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to a mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Aroclor 1221, would disrupt the normal timing of neurogenesis in two hypothalamic regions: the ventromedial nucleus (VMN) and the preoptic area (POA). These regions were selected because of their important roles in the control of sociosexual behaviors that are perturbed in adulthood by prenatal EDC exposure. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to PCBs from Embryonic Day 8 (E8) to E18, encompassing the period of neurogenesis of all hypothalamic neurons. To determine the birth dates of neurons, bromo-2-deoxy-5-uridine (BrdU) was administered to dams on E12, E14, or E16. On the day after birth, male and female pups were perfused, brains immunolabeled for BrdU, and numbers of cells counted. In the VMN, exposure to PCBs significantly advanced the timing of neurogenesis compared to vehicle-treated pups, without changing the total number of BrdU+ cells. In the POA, PCBs did not change the timing of neurogenesis nor the total number of cells born. This is the first study to show that PCBs can shift the timing of neurogenesis in the hypothalamus, specifically in the VMN but not the POA. This result has implications for functions controlled by the VMN, especially sociosexual behaviors, as well as for sexual selection more generally.
PubMed ID: 32798281
MeSH Terms: Animals; Aroclors/pharmacology; Endocrine Disruptors/pharmacology*; Female; Fetus/drug effects; Hypothalamus/drug effects*; Neurogenesis/drug effects*; Neurons/drug effects; Polychlorinated Biphenyls/pharmacology; Pregnancy; Preoptic Area/cytology; Preoptic Area/drug effects; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Sexual Behavior/drug effects; Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus/cytology; Ventromedial Hypothalamic Nucleus/drug effects