2016 Volume 41 Issue Special Pages SP69-SP79
Epidemiologic evidence has demonstrated associations between early life exposure to industrial chemicals and the occurrence of disease states, including cognitive and behavioral abnormalities, in children. The developing brain in the fetal and infantile periods is extremely vulnerable to chemicals because the blood-brain barrier is not completely formed during these periods. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) test guideline, TG426, updated in 2007, comprises in vivo behavioral observational tests and other tests intended to assess DNT induced by exposure to industrial chemicals. These chemicals may enter the market without having been subjected to DNT testing, as DNT test data is not mandated by law at the time of chemical registration. In addition, proprietary rights have led to problems concerning the non-disclosure of industrial chemical toxicity test data, including DNT test data. To overcome the disadvantages of high-cost and low time efficiency of in vivo DNT tests, in vitro or in silico tests are the proposed alternatives, but it is unlikely that the results of such tests would reflect changes in higher brain functions. Accordingly, the current DNT test guidelines need to be revised to avoid overlooking or neglecting the occurrence of DNT induced by exposure to low doses of chemicals. This review also proposes the introduction of novel in vivo DNT testing methods in light of a cost-performance analysis.