Honors Projects


Robert WitteFollow



PCBs were originally used as industrial chemicals in many devices and applications, including electrical capacitors and transformers, lubricants, and sealants in buildings. PCBs have been investigated and their use has been slowly phased out starting in the U.S. in the 1970s. A worldwide ban was put on the use and manufacturing of PCB in 2001, however they remain in the food chain because of their lipophilic properties and their long half-life. Major sources of PCB include wild-life, fish, and other seafood. Individuals exposed to PCB during development can experience negative effects on neurobiological, cognitive, and behavior functioning in both humans and non-humans. Additional studies have shown that PCB can lead to changes in the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).The goal of this research project was to determine if any one week of PCB exposure during the three-week rat pregnancy has a more detrimental impact on development than any other. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to PCB in their diet during gestation and lactation at different one week intervals. Multiple tests were done to investigate behavioral changes as well as thyroid hormone concentrations in the blood. After analyzing the data it appears that exposure to PCB may have a more negative effect on development during earlier stages of gestation.



First Advisor

Dr. Lee A. Meserve

First Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Dr. Moira van Staaden

Second Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Publication Date

Spring 2014