Neurotoxicology; Overview

L. G. Costa, Michael Aschner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Neurotoxicology is the study of any adverse effect on the chemistry, structure, or function of the nervous system, during development or at maturity, induced by chemical or physical influences. Adverse effect is any treatment-related change that interferes with normal function and compromises adaptation to the environment, and includes morphological changes (e.g., loss of neurons, degeneration axons, and loss of the glial cells surrounding axons), as well as reversible neurochemical changes.Developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) is an important aspect of neurotoxicology, as most known human neurotoxicants are indeed developmental neurotoxicants. Hundreds of chemicals are known to be neurotoxic in humans, including metals, organic solvents, pesticides, and other organic substances of industrial relevance, pharmaceutical drugs, and natural compounds. Neurotoxic effects can be detected in the course of standard toxicity testing, and specific guidelines exist to further probe the potential neurotoxicity of chemicals. DNT testing guidelines have also been developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the Neurological Sciences
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9780123851574
ISBN (Print)9780123851581
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Developmental neurotoxicity
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Neurotoxic chemicals
  • Neurotoxicity testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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