Developmental Effects of Fish-Borne Toxicants in the Rat

EPA Grant Number: R825812
Title: Developmental Effects of Fish-Borne Toxicants in the Rat
Investigators: Seegal, Richard F. , Schantz, Susan L.
Institution: The State University of New York at Albany , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: December 15, 1997 through December 15, 2000
Project Amount: $470,560
RFA: Issues in Human Health Risk Assessment (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Human Health , Human Health Risk Assessment , Health


Epidemiological studies suggest an association between consumption of contaminated Great Lakes fish by pregnant women and behavioral deficits in their children. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are correlated with these dysfunctions suggesting that PCBs may be the relevant toxicant. Alternatively, PCBs may represent a marker of exposure to other fish-borne contaminants. Thus, the neuropsychological effects observed in children may be due either to other neuroactive contaminants or to additive or synergistic interactions between the PCBs and other contaminants. Using chemical extraction and fractionation techniques we will determine which contaminant(s) found in Lake Ontario salmon are responsible for the neurobehavioral dysfunctions seen in children whose mothers consumed contaminated Great Lakes fish.


To determine which toxicants in Great Lakes fish induce neurobehavioral alterations following perinatal exposure we will: (1) measure concentrations of the organic and inorganic contaminants in Lake Ontario (LO) salmon and in Pacific Ocean (PO) salmon, which will serve as a control in all experiments; (2) determine neurobehavioral effects in rats perinatally exposed to lyophilized (LYP) LO salmon containing all contaminants or a methylene chloride extract of LO salmon containing all organic contaminants; (3) determine the neurobehavioral effects of two florisil column fractions of the LO extract--one containing the majority of the PCBs, DDE, HCB, mirex and chlordanes, and the other containing the coplanar PCBs, dioxins, dibenzofurans and polar pesticides and; (4) determine regional neurochemical changes in animals exposed to the behaviorally active fraction(s). Alternatively, if the results obtained in (2) indicate that the unfractionated extract does not yield effects equivalent to those of the LYP LO salmon, we will determine which endogenous (fatty acids and triglycerides) and exogenous (MeHg, arsenic, lead) non-extractable components are required to yield behavioral equivalence.

Expected Results:

These experiments will determine which class(es) of contaminants in LO salmon induce neurobehavioral and neurochemical alterations in the rat. These data will: (i) aid in the interpretation of results from past and ongoing epidemiological studies of fish consumption and (ii) provide insights into the mechanisms that alter neuropsychological function in perinatally exposed humans.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 8 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Complex mixtures, contaminated Great Lakes fish, solvent extraction and fractionation, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, heavy metals, human cognitive dysfunctions, neurobehavioral and neurochemical alterations, mechanisms of toxicity., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Toxics, Geographic Area, Waste, Toxicology, Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, pesticides, Risk Assessments, chemical mixtures, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Physical Processes, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Biology, Great Lakes, pesticide exposure, fish borne toxicant, health effects, dioxin, sensitive populations, adolescents, mothers, Great Lakes salmon consumption, health risks, prenatal exposure, developmental toxicity, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl, animal model, developmental effects, perinatal exposure, exposure, Human Health Risk Assessment, children, environmental mutagens, polychlorinated dibenzofuran, neuropsychological, human exposure, behavioral deficits, furans, growth and development, environmental toxicant, perinatanl exposure, pregnant women, biological markers, arsenic exposure, pregnancy, dietary exposure, developmental disorders, arsenic, dioxin exposure, fish-borne toxicants, biomarker, Lake Ontario, heavy metals, synergistic interactions

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998 Progress Report
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final