Neurotoxicity occurs when neurotoxins affect the normal activity of the nervous system and ultimately damage nervous tissue. Possible symptoms can include motor function and co-ordination issues, loss of memory, vision, and/or mental function, obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors, delusions, seizures, headache, cognitive and behavioral problems. Neurotoxicity can be linked to exposure from certain chemotherapy/radiation therapies, heavy metals, pesticides, food additives, industrial solvents, cleaning products and drug therapies.
The deleterious effects of neurotoxins may not become clinically apparent for some time following exposure. There is particular concern regarding low levels of environmental chemicals and their effects on fetal development, on the behavior or development of children or the development of neurodegenerative diseases in adults (e.g., Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease).
Neurological function and behavioral effects are typically evaluated through in vivo animal models of acute and repeat dose preclinical toxicity studies. With the onset of REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation, and the cost and ethical issues associated with animal testing, there is a considerable push to identify new in vitro methods which are able to predict neurotoxicity in humans.
Cyprotex offers in vitro cell based assays to study neurite outgrowth using high content imaging and electrophysiological effects using high throughput microelectrode array.
1 Robinette BL et al., (2011) Front Neuroeng 4; Article 1