The behavioral teratogenic potential of fenbendazole: A medication for pinworm infestation

Susan Barron, Bryan J. Baseheart, Tracy M. Segar, Tony Deveraux, Jennifer A. Willford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Fenbendazole (FBZ) is a benzimidazole currently used for anthelmintic treatment of pinworm populations in numerous animal species although it is not currently approved for laboratory rodents in the U.S. It has received considerable interest for treating rodent populations due to its low toxicity, wide safety margin and apparent absence of gross teratogenic effects. The purpose of this study was to assess the behavioral teratogenic potential of FBZ. Pregnant rats were administered either FBZ-medicated feed at a therapeutic level or normal rat chow throughout pregnancy and gestation. FBZ had no effect on pregnancy indicators such as maternal weight gain or water consumption, number of pups born or pup birth weights. Offspring were examined in a variety of paradigms including righting reflex, negative geotaxis, running wheel activity, Morris water maze (MWM) performance and digging maze performance. FBZ offspring did show delayed righting reflex, some modest changes in locomotor activity in a running wheel and minor alterations in performance during the probe session of the MWM relative to controls. However, the effects of FBZ on behavior were subtle and many of the behaviors examined were unaffected. These results suggest that FBZ may be an effective and relatively safe anthelmintic treatment for use in breeding colonies. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-877
Number of pages7
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Megan Andrews and Tara Victor for their assistance in data collection. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Vice Chancellor's Office at the University of Kentucky.


  • Anthelmintic treatment
  • Behavioral teratology
  • Pinworm
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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