Research Topic

Chemicals in the environment and brain development: importance of neuroendocrinological approaches

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Mounting evidence shows that increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, and it is clear that this increase cannot be explained by genetic background alone. A number of studies, including epidemiological studies, have found an association between in-utero and ...

Mounting evidence shows that increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders, and it is clear that this increase cannot be explained by genetic background alone. A number of studies, including epidemiological studies, have found an association between in-utero and childhood exposure to certain chemicals, such as endocrine disruptors, psychoactive pharmaceuticals, volatile organic chemicals, persistent organic compounds and heavy metals, and children’s brain development. Yet the mechanisms by which these chemicals impair brain development and function are not yet fully understood. In addition, little is known about how these chemicals enter and accumulate in the brain.

We believe that neuroendocrinological approaches coupled with traditional neurotoxicological approaches are essential in investigating the causes of neurodevelopmental disorders. Such approaches include in-vitro cell line assays using stem cells, neural progenitor cells and mature neural cells; improved technologies for the detection and measurement of behavioural changes in animal models; development of analytical methods for the identification and quantification of chemicals and their metabolites in the brain; and imaging technologies to illustrate the distribution of chemicals in targeted brain regions. We must also tackle the problem of the effect of multichemical exposure (mixture problem). To promote such multidisciplinary research, it is necessary to organise a network of researchers in different fields and to cultivate a common platform on which these researchers can communicate with each other.

In this Research Topic, we will focus on the state-of-the-art science and technologies that can help us better understand the mechanisms of action of the chemicals that cause neurodevelopmental disorders. We especially encourage researchers to submit their works on the development of new methods and technologies that can be used to determine the mechanisms of neuroendocrine disruptors. Manuscripts that propose new ways of fostering multidisciplinary research and study tools are also welcome.


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