Polybrominated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PBDD/DFs) are byproducts of brominated flame retardants and can cause adverse health effects. Although exposure to polychlorinated (PC) DD/DFs induces toxic effects, including liver injury and neurobehavioral disorder, little is known about toxicities associated with PBDD/DF exposure. Thus, we examined effects of perinatal exposure to brominated congener on the infant mouse. Gene expression in several organs, such as the liver and brain, was analyzed in mouse offspring born to dams administered 2,3,7,8-tetrabromodibenzofuran (TBDF; 9 or 45 μg/kg body weight) or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD; 3 μg/kg body weight) on gestational day 12.5. An increase in liver size was observed in TBDF- or TCDD-exposed offspring in infancy. Gene microarray analysis revealed that 163 and 36 genes were markedly upregulated and downregulated, respectively, in the liver of TBDF-exposed mice compared with those in vehicle-treated mice on postnatal day (PND) 5. Significant increases in Cyp1a1, Cyp1a2, Fmo3, and Pnliprp1 and decreases in Tff3, Ocstamp, Kcnk16, and Lgals2 mRNA levels in TBDF-exposed offspring on PNDs 5 and 12 were confirmed by quantitative PCR. In particular, a significant reduction in Tff3 mRNA in the liver, but not in the brain, small intestine, colon, and kidney, was observed in offspring perinatally exposed to TBDF or TCDD. Ultrasonic calls of TBDF- or TCDD-exposed offspring on PNDs 3–5 were impaired. Taken together, perinatal exposure to polyhalogenated dioxin/furan congeners disrupts gene expression patterns in the liver and ultrasonic calling during infancy. These results suggest that liver injury may contribute to neurobehavioral disorder.
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