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Developmental Neurotoxicity

Genetic Toxicology, Oncogenesis, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology

  1. Susan L. Makris MS,
  2. Kathleen C. Raffaele PhD

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470744307.gat085

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

General, Applied and Systems Toxicology

How to Cite

Makris, S. L. and Raffaele, K. C. 2009. Developmental Neurotoxicity. General, Applied and Systems Toxicology. .

Author Information

  1. US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


This chapter describes the essential elements of the developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) study, which is intended to screen for adverse effects of pre- and postnatal exposure on the development and function of the nervous system. The background and history of the guideline are discussed, illustrating the extensive research, collaborative international scientific efforts and interlaboratory studies that have contributed to its development, and thus demonstrating its validity, sensitivity, reliability and cross-species comparability. The end points assessed in the guideline DNT study are addressed in detail; these include functional observations, developmental landmarks, auditory startle, motor activity, learning and memory (cognitive) testing and postmortem evaluations (brain weight, qualitative neuropathology and quantitative morphometry). End-point-specific issues, consideration of critical windows of development, special vulnerabilities of the developing nervous system and interpretation of the data are discussed. A review of the use of DNT study data in human-health risk assessment demonstrates the value of the study.


  • developmental neurotoxicity;
  • risk assessment;
  • developmental landmarks;
  • functional observations;
  • auditory startle;
  • motor activity;
  • cognitive testing;
  • neuropathology;
  • morphometry