Physiological effects of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE-47) on pregnant gartersnakes and resulting offspring

Lorin A. Neuman-Lee, James Carr, Katelynn Vaughn, Susannah S. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used as flame retardants and are persistent contaminants found in virtually every environment and organism sampled to date, including humans. There is growing evidence that PBDEs are the source of thyroid, neurodevelopmental, and reproductive toxicity. Yet little work has focused on how this pervasive contaminant may influence the reproduction and physiology of non-traditional model species. This is especially critical because in many cases non-model species, such as reptiles, are most likely to come into contact with PBDEs in nature. We tested how short-term, repeated exposure to the PBDE congener BDE-47 during pregnancy affected physiological processes in pregnant female gartersnakes (thyroid follicular height, bactericidal ability, stress responsiveness, reproductive output, and tendency to terminate pregnancy) and their resulting offspring (levels of corticosterone, bactericidal ability, and size differences). We found potential effects of BDE-47 on both the mother, such as increased size and higher thyroid follicular height, and her offspring (increased size), suggesting the effects on physiological function of PBDEs do indeed extend beyond the traditional rodent models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • BDE-47
  • Endocrinology
  • Immunotoxicity
  • Reproduction
  • Reptile


Dive into the research topics of 'Physiological effects of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE-47) on pregnant gartersnakes and resulting offspring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this