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Toxicol Ind Health. 2011 Apr;27(3):279-88. doi: 10.1177/0748233710387002. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Toxic effect of PBDE-47 on thyroid development, learning, and memory, and the interaction between PBDE-47 and PCB153 that enhances toxicity in rats.

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Department of Environmental Health and MOE Key Lab of Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hubei, People's Republic of China.


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are widespread environmental contaminants. There are potential interactive effects between PBDEs and PCBs, as these compounds share similar structures. The developmental neurotoxicity of 2, 2', 4, 4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE-47) and the interaction of PBDE-47 with 2, 2', 4, 4', 5, 5'-hexachlorobipheny (PCB153) were investigated herein, as the dominant congener forms of PBDEs and PCBs, respectively. SD rats were exposed to a single oral dose of PBDE-47 (1, 5, and 10 μg/g) and/or PCB153 (5 μg/g) on post-natal day (PND) 10. Concentrations of PBDE-47, triiodothyronine (T(3)), thyroxine (T(4)), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in serum; organ-to-body weight ratios; as well as long-term learning and memory were measured in 2-month-old rats. The present study found that some doses of PBDE-47 decreased the organ-to-body weight ratios of the thyroid and uterus, decreased the concentration of T(4) in serum, and increased the organ-to-body weight ratio of the ovaries (p < 0.05). PCB153 could increase the action of PBDE-47 during combined exposure, but this interaction was not found between PBDE-47 and PCB153. In a Morris water maze experiment, the latency periods were significantly prolonged and time ratios were obviously depressed in all PBDE-47-treated groups compared to the control (p < 0.05); furthermore, significant interactions between PBDE-47 and PCB153 were observed (p < 0.05). In conclusion, PBDE-47 may depress thyroid development as well as the long-term learning and memory capabilities in adult rats exposed to PBDE-47 on PND 10. PCB153 can interact with PBDE-47, resulting in an increase in developmental neurotoxicity.

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