Neurobehavioral and neurochemical effects of perinatal arsenite exposure in Sprague-Dawley rats

Timothy J. Flanigan, Sherry A. Ferguson, Charles D. Law, Hector Rosas-Hernandez, Elvis Cuevas-Martinez, Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Andrew N. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to relatively high levels of inorganic arsenic (iAs) is associated with detrimental effects on human health, including cancer and diabetes. The effects of lower-level exposures are less clear, and gaps in the literature exist as to the effects of iAs exposure on neurodevelopment. The current study assessed the effects of perinatal iAs exposure on rodent neurodevelopment and behavior. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were exposed to arsenite (AsIII) via oral gavage on gestational days (GD) 6 through 21, and pups were directly dosed via gavage on postnatal days (PND) 1 through 21. Dams and offspring received the same doses: 0.00, 0.10, 1.50, or 3.75 mg/kg/day. Male and female offspring underwent a battery of behavioral assessments from weaning until PND 180. Brain arsenic levels increased in a dose-dependent manner at both PND 1 and 21. Results from the behavioral tests show that pre- and postnatal AsIII exposure did not adversely affect offspring weight gain, adolescent motor and cognitive functions, or adult motor and cognitive functions in the SD rat. There were no differences in concentration of several brain proteins associated with blood-brain barrier permeability, dopamine functions, and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107059
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Developmental toxicity
  • Inorganic arsenic
  • Neurobehavioral assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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