Article

Endocrine disruptors and childhood social impairment.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.
NeuroToxicology (Impact Factor: 3.05). 12/2010; 32(2):261-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuro.2010.12.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors has the potential to impact early brain development. Neurodevelopmental toxicity in utero may manifest as psychosocial deficits later in childhood. This study investigates prenatal exposure to two ubiquitous endocrine disruptors, the phthalate esters and bisphenol A (BPA), and social behavior in a sample of adolescent inner-city children. Third trimester urines of women enrolled in the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Study between 1998 and 2002 (n=404) were analyzed for phthalate metabolites and BPA. Mother-child pairs were asked to return for a follow-up assessment when the child was between the ages of 7 and 9 years. At this visit, mothers completed the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) (n=137), a quantitative scale for measuring the severity of social impairment related to Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the general population. In adjusted general linear models increasing log-transformed low molecular weight (LMW) phthalate metabolite concentrations were associated with greater social deficits (β=1.53, 95% CI 0.25-2.8). Among the subscales, LMWP were also associated with poorer Social Cognition (β=1.40, 95% CI 0.1-2.7); Social Communication (β=1.86, 95% CI 0.5-3.2); and Social Awareness (β=1.25, 95% CI 0.1-2.4), but not for Autistic Mannerisms or Social Motivation. No significant association with BPA was found (β=1.18, 95% CI -0.75, 3.11). Prenatal phthalate exposure was associated with childhood social impairment in a multiethnic urban population. Even mild degrees of impaired social functioning in otherwise healthy individuals can have very important adverse effects over a child's lifetime. These results extend our previous finding of atypical neonatal and early childhood behaviors in relation to prenatal phthalate exposure.

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    ABSTRACT: Perinatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can induce promiscuous neurobehavioral disturbances. Bisphenol A and phthalates are two widely prevalent and persistent EDCs reported to lead to such effects. Parental and social behaviors are especially vulnerable to endocrine disruption, as these traits are programmed by the organizational-activational effects of testosterone and estrogen. Exposure to BPA and other EDCs disrupts normal maternal care provided by rodents and non-human primates, such as nursing, time she spends hunched over and in the nest, and grooming her pups. Paternal care may also be affected by BPA. No long-term study has linked perinatal exposure to BPA or other EDC and later parental behavioral deficits in humans. The fact that the same brain regions and neural hormone substrates govern parental behaviors in animal models and humans suggests that this suite of behaviors may also be vulnerable in the latter. Social behaviors, such as communication, mate choice, pair bonding, social inquisitiveness and recognition, play behavior, social grooming, copulation, and aggression, are compromised in animal models exposed to BPA, phthalates, and other EDCs. Early contact to these chemicals is also correlated with maladaptive social behaviors in children. These behavioral disturbances may originate by altering the fetal or adult gonadal production of testosterone or estrogen, expression of ESR1, ESR2, and AR in the brain regions governing these behaviors, neuropeptide/protein hormone (oxytocin, vasopressin, and prolactin) and their cognate neural receptors, and/or through epimutations. Robust evidence exists for all of these EDC-induced changes. Concern also exists for transgenerational persistence of such neurobehavioral disruptions. In sum, evidence for social and parental deficits induced by BPA, phthalates, and related chemicals is strongly mounting, and such effects may ultimately compromise the overall social fitness of populations to come.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 03/2015; 9:57. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00057
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    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2015; 112(5). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1417731112 · 9.81 Impact Factor