Prenatal sulfur dioxide exposure induces changes in the behavior of adult male mice during agonistic encounters

Marco Fiore, Simona Petruzzi, Giacomo Dell'omo, Enrico Alleva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is one of the most important pollutants of the western countries, responsible for several cardiopulmonary diseases in humans. SO2 affects both young and adult people, causing low work productivity with social and economical costs extremely high for the communities. To test whether or not SO2 produces changes in social and/or agonistic behavior of laboratory animals, outbred CD-1 male mice were prenatally exposed to different SO2 concentrations (0, 5, 12, or 30 ppm) up to pregnancy day 14. At adulthood, following a 4-week isolation period, they underwent an aggressive encounter with CD-1 male opponents of the same age, body weight, and isolation condition (single 20-min session). The levels of several responses such as tail rattling, freezing, and defensive postures were reduced by the treatment, particularly during the initial period of the agonistic encounter, whereas offensive and attack behaviors were not significantly modified. In addition, rearing and social investigation increased. Overall, the present results indicate that prenatal SO2 exposure can alter mouse social/agonistic behavior, apparently acting on the approach phase toward the opponent and suggestive of changes in the animals' capability to cope with threatening dangerous situations. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-548
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998


  • Aggressive behavior
  • Mice
  • Prenatal sulfur dioxide
  • Social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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