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Neurochem Res. 2008 Feb;33(2):355-64. Epub 2007 Sep 1.

In vitro effects of environmentally relevant polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners on calcium buffering mechanisms in rat brain.

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Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are widely used as additive flame-retardants and have been detected in human blood, adipose tissue, and breast milk. Developmental and long-term exposures to these chemicals may pose a human health risk, especially to children. We have previously demonstrated that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are structurally similar to PBDEs and cause neurotoxicity, perturb intracellular signaling events including calcium homeostasis and protein kinase C translocation, which are critical for neuronal function and development of the nervous system. The objective of the present study was to test whether environmentally relevant PBDE congeners 47 and 99 are also capable of disrupting Ca(2+) homeostasis. Calcium buffering was determined by measuring (45)Ca(2+)-uptake by microsomes and mitochondria, isolated from adult male rat brain (frontal cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, and hypothalamus). Results show that PBDEs 47 and 99 inhibit both microsomal and mitochondrial (45)Ca(2+)-uptake in a concentration-dependent manner. The effect of these congeners on (45)Ca(2+)-uptake is similar in all four brain regions though the hypothalamus seems to be slightly more sensitive. Among the two preparations, the congeners inhibited (45)Ca(2+)-uptake in mitochondria to a greater extent than in microsomes. These results indicate that PBDE 47 and PBDE 99 congeners perturb calcium signaling in rat brain in a manner similar to PCB congeners, suggesting a common mode of action of these persistent organic pollutants.

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