Adverse effects of prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners on postnatal brain development have been reported in a number of previous studies. However, few studies have examined the effects of prenatal PCB exposure on early social development. The present study sought to increase understanding of the neurotoxicity of PCBs by examining the relationship between PCB congener concentrations in umbilical cord blood and fixation patterns when observing upright and inverted biological motion (BM) at four-months after birth. The development of the ability to recognize BM stimuli is considered a hallmark of socio-cognitive development. The results revealed a link between dioxin-like PCB #118 concentration and fixation pattern. Specifically, four-month-olds with a low-level of prenatal exposure to PCB #118 exhibited a preference for the upright BM over inverted BM, whereas those with a relatively high-level of exposure did not. This finding supports the proposal that prenatal PCB exposure impairs the development of social functioning, and indicates the importance of congener-specific analysis in the risk analysis of the adverse effects of PCB exposure on the brain development.
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