There are approximately 200 chemicals with known toxic effects on the brain and nervous system—but the neurotoxic potential of thousands of substances and chemicals to which we are regularly exposed remains largely unknown or poorly understood. The importance of neurotoxicity and developmental neurotoxicity testing is increasing as regulatory agencies try to fill data gaps where critical toxicity information may be lacking. Battelle is expanding their neurobehavioral testing capabilities to support critical research on the neurological effects of drugs, occupational chemicals, pesticides and other substances.
Nervous system toxicity may have serious and permanent effects on neurological function and behavior. The developing nervous system in particular is more sensitive to damage than the adult nervous system. Early injury can have long-lasting or even permanent functional or behavioral consequences that negatively impact the individual, families and society.
The incidence of several childhood developmental disorders is on the rise; the CDC estimates that nearly 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability such as ADHD, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy or developmental delays. At the same time, both children and adults are now exposed to an unprecedented number of drugs, pesticides, and other chemicals—many of which have not been fully studied for neurotoxic effects. While it is currently unknown whether these phenomena are linked, developmental neurotoxicity testing could shed new light on the rising incidence of developmental disorders.
With increasing need for evaluation of exposure to the developing nervous system, Battelle is committed to building world-class expertise in behavioral and developmental neurotoxicology to help clients solve their challenging problems. The assessment of neurotoxicity and developmental neurotoxicity requires sophisticated testing capabilities and scientific expertise to uncover relevant, but often subtle, effects on the nervous system. To rise to the challenge, Battelle has recruited staff with subject expertise in neurotoxicology and neurobehavior and invested in a complete array of neurobehavioral equipment for all levels of CNS testing. Battelle’s neurotoxicity and neurobehavioral testing capabilities were designed with flexibility and throughput in mind and to operate under Good Laboratory Procedure (GLP) conditions to fulfill ICH, OECD and OPPTS guidelines.
Highlights of Battelle’s testing capacity include Tier I functional observational tests in multiple species and more sophisticated Tier II testing including locomotor activity and startle response/pre-pulse inhibition testing, motor coordination and sophisticated gait analysis using the DigiGate imagine device, learning and memory assessment, elevated plus maze. These tests can be conducted over multiple age ranges with most having high throughput capability. Battelle also offers sophisticated neuropathological evaluation including special staining and offers combined protocols with EEG and blood pressure/heart rate analysis with simultaneous behavioral monitoring capability.
In the coming months Battelle scientists will elaborate on some of these exciting capabilities and will provide a more in-depth examination into the unique capabilities and sophisticated application of these techniques.