Neurobehavioral teratogenicity of perfluorinated alkyls in an avian model

Adi Pinkas, Theodore A. Slotkin, Yael Brick-Turin, Eddy A. Van der Zee, Joseph Yanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Perfluorinated alkyls are widely-used agents that accumulate in ecosystems and organisms because of their slow rate of degradation. There is increasing concern that these agents may be developmental neurotoxicants and the present study was designed to develop an avian model for the neurobehavioral teratogenicity of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Fertilized chicken eggs were injected with 5 or 10 mg/kg of either compound on incubation day 0. On the day of hatching, imprinting behavior was impaired by both compounds. We then explored underlying mechanisms involving the targeting of protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms (α, β, γ) in the intermedial part of the hyperstriatum ventrale, the region most closely associated with imprinting. With PFOA exposure, cytosolic PKC concentrations were significantly elevated for all three isoforms; despite the overall increase in PKC expression, membrane-associated PKC was unaffected, indicating a defect in PKC translocation. In contrast, PFOS exposure evoked a significant decrease in cytosolic PKC, primarily for the β and γ isoforms, but again without a corresponding change in membrane-associated enzyme; this likely partial, compensatory increases in translocation to offset the net PKC deficiency. Our studies indicate that perfluorinated alkyls are indeed developmental neurotoxicants that affect posthatch cognitive performance but that the underlying synaptic mechanisms may differ substantially among the various members of this class of compounds, setting the stage for disparate outcomes later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-186
Number of pages5
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Chick
  • Imprinting
  • Perfluorinated alkyls
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonate
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid
  • Prehatch exposure
  • Protein kinase C isoforms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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