Developmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls induces deficits in inhibitory control and may enhance substance abuse risk


Although banned in the late 1970s, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have a long half-life in the human body. NHANES data (EPA. America’s Children and the Environment (ACE): Biomonitoring-Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). 3rd ed.;January, 2013. Available from: www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/biomonitoring-pcbs.pdf) collected for women ages 16-49 between 2003 and 2004 found detectable amounts of PCB congeners 118, 138, 153, and 180 (congeners found at high levels in the environment) in 100% of the samples analyzed. A wide exposure range exists with certain subpopulations exhibiting exposure levels much higher than the general population. This is of concern because perinatal PCB exposure in an animal model has been shown to produce deficits in inhibitory control, alter the interoceptive and psychomotor effects of psychostimulants, and enhance the acquisition of intravenous cocaine self-administration. Overall, perinatal PCB exposure results in a behavioral profile associated with a higher risk of substance abuse. The reinforcing properties of psychostimulants are typically modulated via the dopaminergic system and developmental exposure to PCBs produces alterations in dopamine neurotransmission. This chapter will review these results and discuss PCB-induced dopamine neurotoxicology, particularly the involvement of dopamine transporters as a potential shared mechanism whereby PCB-induced alterations induce the behavioral changes just described.

Publication Title

Handbook of Developmental Neurotoxicology