Bioaccumulation and behavioral effects of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47) in perinatally exposed mice

Tram Anh Ta, Claire M. Koenig, Mari S. Golub, Isaac N Pessah, Lihong Qi, Pavel A. Aronov, Robert F Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are widely used flame retardants that have become pervasive environmental contaminants and may contribute to adverse health outcomes. We evaluated in mice the developmental neurotoxicity of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE-47), one of the most abundant PBDE congeners detected in animal and human tissues. Female C57BL/6J mice were exposed to daily doses of 0, 0.03, 0.1 or 1. mg/kg beginning 4. weeks prior to conception, continuing through gestation and lactation, and ending at weaning on postnatal day (PND) 21. Levels of BDE-47 in blood, brain, liver and adipose tissues of dams were markedly increased after 4. weeks of exposure, around the time of mating, and continued to increase through the time of parturition. Blood levels of BDE-47 in the dosed dams were within the range reported in humans. BDE-47 tissue levels in the dams decreased between parturition and weaning, possibly reflecting mobilization during lactation. Brain BDE-47 levels in the offspring at PND 1 approached those of the dams at parturition. Perinatal exposure to BDE-47 resulted in significant dose dependent growth retardation, slower motor performance in several behavioral tests, and mice exposed to 1. mg/kg/day BDE-47 showed altered performance in the Morris water maze. There were no differences between groups in the numbers of pyramidal neurons in hippocampus CA1. These results document accumulation of BDE-47 in several organ systems following exposure to low-levels of BDE-47, and provide evidence that such exposure is associated with early behavioral deficits in exposed neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011


  • BDE-47
  • Behavior
  • Flame retardant
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ether

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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