An overview of dioxin-like compounds, PCB, and pesticide exposures associated with sexual differentiation of neuroendocrine systems, fluctuating asymmetry, and behavioral effects in birds.
ABSTRACT Dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides impact neural systems in birds due to interference with sexual differentiation. Early endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) effects may delay maturation and have long-term effects on lifetime reproduction, especially in precocial birds that complete sexual differentiation prior to hatch. Semi-altricial and altricial species appear more resilient to EDC effects and show a gradient in sensitivity, especially in the neuroplastic song system. Embryonic steroid exposure occurs via maternally deposited steroids followed by embryo produced hormones; EDCs potentially affect these developing systems. As such, EDCs can impact lifelong fitness by acting on neural systems that regulate reproduction, metabolism, and behavior.