Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Neurodegener. 2017 May 5;12(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s13024-017-0177-9.

Dioxins and related environmental contaminants increase TDP-43 levels.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord St., R614, Boston, MA, 02118-2526, USA.
2
Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.
3
Center for Regenerative Medicine, Boston University, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.
4
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, 02118, USA.
5
Department of Pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord St., R614, Boston, MA, 02118-2526, USA. bwolozin@bu.edu.
6
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord St., R614, Boston, MA, 02118-2526, USA. bwolozin@bu.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating neurodegenerative condition that is characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons and the accumulation of aggregated TAR DNA Binding Protein-43 (TDP-43, gene: TARDBP). Increasing evidence indicates that environmental factors contribute to the risk of ALS. Dioxins, related planar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are environmental contaminants that activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), a ligand-activated, PAS family transcription factor. Recently, exposure to these toxicants was identified as a risk factor for ALS.

METHODS:

We examined levels of TDP-43 reporter activity, transcript and protein. Quantification was done using cell lines, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mouse brain. The target samples were treated with AHR agonists, including 6-Formylindolo[3,2-b]carbazole (FICZ, a potential endogenous ligand, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo(p)dioxin, and benzo(a)pyrene, an abundant carcinogen in cigarette smoke). The action of the agonists was inhibited by concomitant addition of AHR antagonists or by AHR-specific shRNA.

RESULTS:

We now report that AHR agonists induce up to a 3-fold increase in TDP-43 protein in human neuronal cell lines (BE-M17 cells), motor neuron differentiated iPSCs, and in murine brain. Chronic treatment with AHR agonists elicits over 2-fold accumulation of soluble and insoluble TDP-43, primarily because of reduced TDP-43 catabolism. AHR antagonists or AHR knockdown inhibits agonist-induced increases in TDP-43 protein and TARDBP transcription demonstrating that the ligands act through the AHR.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results provide the first evidence that environmental AHR ligands increase TDP-43, which is the principle pathological protein associated with ALS. These results suggest novel molecular mechanisms through which a variety of prevalent environmental factors might directly contribute to ALS. The widespread distribution of dioxins, PCBs and PAHs is considered to be a risk factor for cancer and autoimmune diseases, but could also be a significant public health concern for ALS.

KEYWORDS:

ALS; Alpha-synuclein; Ataxin-2; Fus; Gene regulation; Neurodegeneration; Promoter; Protein aggregation; Toxicants; Transcription

PMID:
28476168
PMCID:
PMC5420162
DOI:
10.1186/s13024-017-0177-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center