Popke, E. Jon Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Tarrytown, New York.
Last reviewed:October 2020
- Laboratory animals
- Neurobehavioral teratology
- Significance of behavioral effects
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of behavior change in response to drugs, chemicals, or other environmental conditions or agents. Behavioral toxicology investigates the effect of toxic exposure on organismal behavior. The toxic exposure can involve various chemicals, drugs, or other environmental conditions or agents, which are collectively referred to as toxicants or toxins. Importantly, changes in behavior, as well as changes in sensation, mood, intellectual function, and motor coordination, are used by behavioral toxicologists to identify risks associated with exposure to potential toxicants and to determine mechanisms by which toxicants can affect the central nervous system (see illustration). The information gained through behavioral toxicology can be used by scientists and government agencies to set limits in permissible levels of exposure to an environmental toxicant. Techniques employed in behavioral toxicology include epidemiologic surveys, field-based research, and laboratory-based experiments using human or nonhuman subjects. See also: Central nervous system; Environmental toxicology; Forensic toxicology; Nervous system disorders; Toxicology; Toxin
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