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Neurobehavioral Effects of Prenatal and Perinatal Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Exposure through Drinking Water

Seminar speaker, Liping Feng, wearing a white lab coat.
Thursday, February 29, 2024
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Liping Feng, PhD, Duke University School of Medicine
Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health Seminar Series

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are persistent organic pollutants ubiquitous in the environment and humans. In-utero PFAS exposure is associated with numerous adverse health impacts. However, little is known about how prenatal PFAS mixture exposure affects offspring's neurobehavioral function. This study aims to determine the causal relationship between in-utero PFAS mixture exposure and neurobehavioral changes in Sprague-Dawley rat offspring. Following exposure to PFAS-laden water or the vehicle during fetal development, neurobehavioral toxicity was assessed in male and female offspring with a battery of motor, cognitive, and affective function tests as juveniles, adolescents, and adults. Just before weaning, the environmentally relevant exposure group had smaller anogenital distances compared to the vehicle and high-dose groups on day 17, and males in the environmentally relevant exposure group demonstrated lower weights than the high-dose group on day 21 (p < 0.05). Reflex development delays were seen in negative geotaxis acquisition for both exposure groups compared to vehicle-exposed controls (p= 0.009). Our post-weaning behavioral measures of anxiety, depression, and memory were not found to be affected by maternal PFAS exposure. In adolescence (week five) and adulthood (week eight), the high PFAS dose significantly attenuated typical sex differences in locomotor activity. Maternal exposure to an environmentally relevant PFAS mixture produced developmental delays in the domains of pup weight, anogenital distance, and reflex acquisition for rat offspring. The high-dose PFAS exposure significantly decreased typical sex differences in locomotor activity. Further study demonstrated that PFAS-low exposure increased oxygen levels in pregnancy mass and induced oxidative stress and dysregualted mitochondiral function in developing brains in rats.

THIS IS A HYBRID SEMINAR: In person and online via Panopto
This seminar will be held in Grainger Hall room 1112.
Visit the seminar website for a link to attend virtually.
Both attendance options are free and open to all.