- 837637.pdf (475k)
Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a class of organic compounds that bioaccumulate due to their chemical stability and lipophilic properties. Humans are prenatally exposed via trans-placental transfer, through breast milk as infants, and through fish, seafood and fatty foods as adolescents and adults. Exposure has several reported effects ranging from developmental abnormalities to cognitive and motor deficiencies. In the present study, three experimental groups of rats were orally exposed to PCBs typically found in human breast milk and then behaviorally tested for changes in measures of stimulus control (percentage lever-presses on the reinforcer- producing lever), activity level (responses with IRTs > 0.67 s), and responses with short IRTs (< 0.67 s). Methods: Male offspring from Wistar Kyoto (WKY/NTac) dams purchased pregnant from Taconic Farms (Germantown, NY) were orally given PCB at around postnatal day 8, 14, and 20 at a dose of 10 mg/kg body weight at each exposure. Three experimental groups were exposed either to PCB 52, PCB 153, or PCB 180. A fourth group fed corn oil only served as controls. From postnatal day 25, for 33 days, the animals were tested for behavioral changes using an operant procedure. Results: PCB exposure did not produce behavioral changes during training when responding was frequently reinforced using a variable interval 3 s schedule. When correct responses were reinforced on a variable interval 180 s schedule, animals exposed to PCB 153 or PCB 180 were less active than controls and animals exposed to PCB 52. Stimulus control was better in animals exposed to PCB 180 than in controls and in the PCB 52 group. Also, the PCB 153 and PCB 180 groups had fewer responses with short IRTs than the PCB 52 group. No effects of exposure to PCB 52 were found when compared to controls. Conclusions: Exposure to PCBs 153 and 180 produced hypoactivity that continued at least five weeks after the last exposure. No effects of exposure to PCB 52 were observed.
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