Approaches to Understanding Mechanisms between Environmental Chemical Exposure and Brain Development

andrew aigbedion, samuel Adetunji Onasanwo, Harrison Bejakhalu Ejiya, Abodurin Ojetola


Environmental chemicals are not without effects on the developmental processes taking place in the brain, considering their involvement in its pathogenesis. Of importance is the finding in a 2006 survey which showed several environmental chemicals to be implicated in neurobehavioral deficits in children following prenatal exposures. Worrisome on the other hand, quantifying chemical exposure effects on neurodevelopment and brain disorders usually prove difficult being that the brain; the target organ of neurotoxicants, requires highly invasive or extremely costly (e.g. neuroimaging) methods to access. To date paucity of central nervous system (CNS) or peripheral biomarkers are available as validated indicators for the mechanisms responsible for brain disorders. Available biomarkers so far for many environmental chemicals are indeed poor predicators. Combining insights from epidemiological studies and anecdotal clinical evidences in the field of neuroscience, this review discusses existing literatures/experimental researches that have attempted to explain links between environmental chemicals and brain disorders. This paper aims at contributing to the field of neuroscience by clarifying key processes, noting unresolved issues in previous experimental works and illuminating on mechanistic approaches to be tested with proper and robust research design of the 21st century.

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