Neurotoxicology and Teratology is organizing a Special Issue on “Developmental Outcomes of Neuroinflammatory Insults”, co-edited by Drs. Laura Carlson, Jean Harry, and Kelly Carstens. The focus of this Special Issue is on advancing the current understanding of the ontogeny of the developing neuroimmune system and the neurotoxicological effects of inflammatory processes during early life. Emphasis is placed on the contributory role of environmental factors including insults to the maternal in utero environment or directly during the developmental stages of birth to adolescence. Insults of interest range from chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and infections to prenatal and neonatal stressors. Developmental outcomes of interest range over the life span from birth to adolescence to adulthood.


During development, cells of the immune system play critical roles to ensure successful tissue formation and system integration. In the brain, these actions represent both immune and non-immune functions that serve angiogenic, neurogenic, and gliogenic functions following a pattern of cell and tissue ontogeny. The disruption of these normal functions can significantly affect multiple aspects of brain development, including neurovascularization, blood-brain-barrier formation, neurogenesis, gliogenesis, cell migration, synaptic formation, synapse remodeling, and myelination. There is growing evidence that perturbations in the development of resident immune cells in the brain results in altered functioning of key neurodevelopmental processes. Research efforts to identify and understand the ontogeny of the neuroimmune system and mechanisms associated with neurodevelopmental disorders are of current interest. A role for environmental exposures as a contributing factor to such disruption is supported by recent studies. Environmental insult during development can activate the innate maternal or fetal immune response, subsequently disrupting both immune and non-immune functions in the brain. How these effects relate to neuroimmune cell maturation, induction of pro-inflammatory factors, and disruption of the production of anti-inflammatory or growth factors is not well-characterized or understood. Studies to examine the role of neuroimmune cells during normal nervous system development and their unique response to insult or injury are required to understand and interpret the long-term functional significance of environmental exposure-related effects. It is the goal of this special issue to advance the current understanding of the developing neuroimmune system within a framework of assessing the impact of environmental exposures across the developmental life stages.


Submissions may include:

  • Primary data driven reports
  • Critical review papers
  • Commentaries
  • Prospective/retrospective human studies
  • Empirical in vivo or in vitro studies using laboratory animals or cell culture systems
  • Well-designed studies showing null effects

The following are examples of relevant topics for this Special Issue:

  • Developmental ontogeny of neuroimmune cells and system
  • Maternal/fetal inflammation or immune-mediated responses: Models and outcomes
  • Sensitive ages/stages of neuroimmune system development and neurodevelopment
  • Contributory mechanisms, neural or hormonal, mediating neuroinflammatory responses
  • Sex differences in neuroimmune cell maturation and response to insult
  • Early life immune activation and incidence of neurodevelopmental disorders, neurological disorders, or neurodegenerative disease
  • Impact of systemic infection on the developing nervous system
  • Epidemiological findings of environmental exposures and neuroinflammation
  • Distinguishing primary from secondary effects on neuroimmune cells
  • Impact of multiple environmental stressors on function of neuroimmune cells
  • Experimental strategies to evaluate neuroimmune cell responses, in vitro and in vivo (mammalian or alternative test species)


All submissions to this Special Issue will be fully peer-reviewed and, because Neurotoxicology and Teratology is abstracted and indexed in BIOSIS, Current Contents/Life Sciences, EMBASE, EMBiology, ETOH, Elsevier BIOBASE, MEDLINE®, Science Citation Index, and Scopus, its contents will be available through typical search engines of the medical literature (e.g., PubMed). The Special Issue will also be circulated to all subscribers of the journal and be accessible via ScienceDirect.


This Special Issue will be in the form of a Virtual Special Issue (VSI), an approach to publishing that addresses one of the most common complaints by authors – slow publication speed. With a VSI, accepted manuscripts are published in the first available issue. Corresponding authors receive 50 days free access to the final published version of their manuscript. Thus, authors do not need to wait until all manuscripts are accepted to have their manuscript published. Simultaneously, articles will appear in a VSI section on the Neurotoxicology and Teratology website and on ScienceDirect.


Authors have two choices for publishing their papers, which has no effect on the peer review process. One choice is Gold Open Access in which articles are freely available to both subscribers and the wider public with permitted reuse. An open access publication fee is payable by authors or their research funder. The second choice involves no publication fee and articles are made available to subscribers through Elsevier access programs. See for further details.


To be considered for inclusion in this Special Issue, please submit your manuscript to Neurotoxicology and Teratology by February 1, 2023, via the electronic submission system ( Manuscripts should be assigned to the category “VSI: Neuroinflammation” at the beginning of the submission process, and a cover letter to the Editor should also specify that the submission is targeted for this issue.


We hope that you will consider this invitation seriously and submit your best work to this issue. Recent trends in scientific publication indicate that articles that appear in special issues receive a great deal of attention. If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of the Co-Editors. We look forward to your contributions to this Special Issue.


Special Issue Co-Editors’ Contact Information

Laura M. Carlson, Ph.D., US EPA, Office of Research and Development

Email: [email protected]


Jean Harry, Ph.D., National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Email: [email protected]


Kelly E. Carstens, Ph.D., US EPA, Office of Research and Development

Email: [email protected]


Neurotoxicology and Teratology Contact

Gale A. Richardson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief; Email: [email protected]