Bis(2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (BEH-TEBP) and 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (EH-TBB), flame retardant components of FireMaster 550® and 600® have been detected in tissues of wild birds. To address the paucity of information regarding potential impacts of flame retardants on the brain, brain volume regions of hatchling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were evaluated following in ovo injection at embryonic day 5 with safflower oil or to 1 of 3 doses of either BEH-TEBP (13, 64, or 116 μg/g egg) or EH-TBB (12, 60, or 149 μg/g egg). The doses for both chemicals reflected concentrations reported in wild birds. The volumes of the hippocampus and telencephalon and volumetric differences between left and right hemispheres were measured in hatchlings (embryonic day 28). A sex-specific effect of BEH-TEBP on relative hippocampus volume was evident: the hippocampus was significantly enlarged in high-dose females compared to control females but smaller in low-dose females than the other females. There was no significant effect of EH-TBB on hippocampus volume in female kestrel hatchlings or of either chemical in male hatchlings and no effects of these concentrations of EH-TBB or BEH-TEBP on telencephalon volume or the level of symmetry between the hemispheres of the brain. In sum, embryonic exposure of female kestrels to these BEH-TEBP concentrations altered hippocampus volume, having the potential to affect spatial memory relating to ecologically relevant behavior such as prey capture, predator avoidance, and migration. Environ Toxicol Chem 2018;9999:1–9.

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Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Department of Biology

Guigueno, M.F. (Mélanie F.), Karouna-Renier, N.K. (Natalie K.), Henry, P.F.P. (Paula F.P.), Peters, L.E. (Lisa E.), Palace, V.P. (Vince P.), Letcher, R.J, & Fernie, K.J. (Kim J.). (2018). Sex-specific responses in neuroanatomy of hatchling American kestrels in response to embryonic exposure to the flame retardants bis(2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate and 2-ethylhexyl-2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. doi:10.1002/etc.4238