2016 SOT FDA Colloquium: State of the Science in Developmental Neurotoxicology—October 12, 2016

The Society of Toxicology in conjunction with the US FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) have partnered to provide this colloquia series. The series presents scientific information that is high-quality, cutting-edge, future-oriented toxicological science to provide a well-grounded foundation to inform the work of US FDA employees.

On October 12, 2016, SOT and US FDA co-hosted a colloquium discussing the development of the nervous system as a complex process that is critically important for normal function and it is vulnerable to both endogenous and exogenous factors. There is increasing awareness among scientists and regulators that neurodevelopment is a critical window of susceptibility for childhood and adult-onset diseases. A growing concern among the general public is that exposures to some environmental factors, dietary components or consumer products may contribute to neurodevelopmental decrements. Novel experimental approaches and scientific concepts are being developed to address the need for more informative and comprehensive testing for the potential developmental neurotoxicity effects of chemicals.

The colloquium began with an overview of neurodevelopment and discussed the current state-of-the-art in developmental neurotoxicity assessment. Second, advances in the use of whole-animal alternative models, such as zebrafish, in evaluating developmental neurotoxicity were discussed. Third, an overview of in vitro alternative models and screening batteries to assess developmental neurotoxicity was presented. Fourth, the framework of adverse outcome pathways was used to demonstrate the utility of novel data streams from alternative species and in vitro assays to improve mechanistic understanding of how chemicals elicit developmental neurotoxicity. Finally, the colloquium concluded with a panel discussion addressing the key issues brought up by the speakers and questions from participants.