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1.  Manganese in Human Parenteral Nutrition: Considerations for Toxicity and Biomonitoring 
Neurotoxicology  2013;43:36-45.
The iatrogenic risks associated with excessive Mn administration in parenteral nutrition (PN) patients are well documented. Hypermanganesemia and neurotoxicity are associated with the duration of Mn supplementation, Mn dosage, as well as pathological conditions, such as anemia or cholestasis. Recent PN guidelines recommend the biomonitoring of patients if they receive Mn in their PN longer than 30 days. The data in the literature are conflicting about the method for assessing Mn stores in humans as a definitive biomarker of Mn exposure or induced-neurotoxicity has yet to be identified. The biomonitoring of Mn relies on the analysis of whole blood Mn (WB Mn) levels, which are highly variable among human population and are not strictly correlated with Mn-induced neurotoxicity. Alterations in dopaminergic (DAergic) and catecholaminergic metabolism have been studied as predictive biomarkers of Mn-induced neurotoxicity. Given these limitations, this review addresses various approaches for biomonitoring Mn exposure and neurotoxic risk.
PMCID: PMC4007395  PMID: 24184781
Manganese; Parenteral Nutrition; Biomonitoring; Neurotoxicity
2.  Paraoxonase-2 (PON2) in brain and its potential role in neuroprotection 
Neurotoxicology  2013;43:3-9.
Paraoxonase 2 (PON2) is a member of a gene family which also includes the more studied PON1, as well as PON3. PON2 is unique among the three PONs, as it is expressed in brain tissue. PON2 is a lactonase and displays anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. PON2 levels are highest in dopaminergic regions (e.g. striatum), are higher in astrocytes than in neurons, and are higher in brain and peripheral tissues of female mice than male mice. At the sub-cellular level, PON2 localizes primarily in mitochondria, where it scavenges superoxides. Lack of PON2 (as in PON2−/− mice), or lower levels of PON2 (as in male mice compared to females) increases susceptibility to oxidative stress-induced toxicity. Estradiol increases PON2 expression in vitro and in vivo, and provides neuroprotection against oxidative stress. Such neuroprotection is not present in CNS cells from PON2−/− mice. Similar results are also found with the polyphenol quercetin. PON2, given its cellular localization and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, may represent a relevant enzyme involved in neuroprotection, and may represent a novel target for neuroprotective strategies. Its differential expression in males and females may explain gender differences in the incidence of various diseases, including neurodevelopmental, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3942372  PMID: 24012887
3.  Low Level Chlorpyrifos Exposure Increases Anandamide Accumulation in Juvenile Rat Brain in the Absence of Brain Cholinesterase Inhibition 
Neurotoxicology  2013;43:82-89.
The prevailing dogma is that chlorpyrifos (CPF) mediates its toxicity through inhibition of cholinesterase (ChE). However, in recent years, the toxicological effects of developmental CPF exposure have been attributed to an unknown non-cholinergic mechanism of action. We hypothesize that the endocannabinoid system may be an important target because of its vital role in nervous system development. We have previously reported that repeated exposure to CPF results in greater inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), the enzyme that metabolizes the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA), than inhibition of either forebrain ChE or monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the enzyme that metabolizes the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG). This exposure resulted in the accumulation of 2-AG and AEA in the forebrain of juvenile rats; however, even at the lowest dosage level used (1.0 mg/kg), forebrain ChE inhibition was still present. Thus, it is not clear if FAAH activity would be inhibited at dosage levels that do not inhibit ChE. To determine this, 10 day old rat pups were exposed daily for 7 days to either corn oil or 0.5 mg/kg CPF by oral gavage. At 4 and 12 h post-exposure on the last day of administration, the activities of serum ChE and carboxylesterase (CES) and forebrain ChE, MAGL, and FAAH were determined as well as the forebrain AEA and 2-AG levels. Significant inhibition of serum ChE and CES was present at both 4 and 12 h. There was no significant inhibition of the activities of forebrain ChE or MAGL and no significant change in the amount of 2-AG at either time point. On the other hand, while no statistically significant effects were observed at 4 h, FAAH activity was significantly inhibited at 12 h resulting in a significant accumulation of AEA. Although it is not clear if this level of accumulation impacts brain maturation, this study demonstrates that developmental CPF exposure at a level that does not inhibit brain ChE can alter components of endocannabinoid signaling.
PMCID: PMC4071163  PMID: 24373905
chlorpyrifos; developmental neurotoxicity; organophosphorus; endocannabinoid
4.  A rapid throughput approach identifies cognitive deficits in adult zebrafish from developmental exposure to polybrominated flame retardants 
Neurotoxicology  2014;43:134-142.
A substantial body of evidence has correlated the human body burdens of some polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants with cognitive and other behavioral deficits. Adult zebrafish exhibit testable learning and memory, making them an increasingly attractive model for neurotoxicology. Our goal was to develop a rapid throughput means of identifying the cognitive impact of developmental exposure to flame retardants in the zebrafish model. We exposed embryos from 6 hours post fertilization to 5 days post fertilization to either PBDE 47 (0.1 uM), PBDE 99 (0.1 uM) or PBDE 153 (0.1 uM), vehicle (0.1% DMSO), or embryo medium (EM). The larvae were grown to adulthood and evaluated for the rate at which they learned an active-avoidance response in an automated shuttle box array. Zebrafish developmentally exposed to PBDE 47 learned the active avoidance paradigm significantly faster than the 0.1% DMSO control fish (P < 0.0001), but exhibited significantly poorer performance when retested suggestive of impaired memory retention or altered neuromotor activity. Learning in the PBDE 153 group was not significantly different from the DMSO group. Developmental exposure to 0.1% DMSO impaired adult active avoidance learning relative to the sham group (n = 39; P < 0.0001). PBDE 99 prevented the DMSO effect, yielding a learning rate not significantly different from the sham group (n = 36; P > 0.9). Our results underscore the importance of vehicle choice in accurately assessing chemical effects on behavior. Active avoidance response in zebrafish is an effective model of learning that, combined with automated shuttle box testing, will provide a highly efficient platform for evaluating persistent neurotoxic hazard from many chemicals.
PMCID: PMC4134748  PMID: 24674958
5.  Distinct Roles of the DmNav and DSC1 Channels in the Action of DDT and Pyrethroids 
Neurotoxicology  2015;47:99-106.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav channels) are critical for electrical signaling in the nervous system and are the primary targets of the insecticides DDT and pyrethroids. In Drosophila melanogaster, besides the canonical Nav channel, Para (also called DmNav), there is a sodium channel-like cation channel called DSC1 (Drosophila sodium channel 1). Temperature-sensitive paralytic mutations in DmNav (parats) confer resistance to DDT and pyrethroids, whereas DSC1 knockout flies exhibit enhanced sensitivity to pyrethroids. To further define the roles and interaction of DmNav and DSC1 channels in DDT and pyrethroid neurotoxicology, we generated a DmNav/DSC1 double mutant line by introducing a parats1 allele (carrying the I265N mutation) into a DSC1 knockout line. We confirmed that the I265N mutation reduced the sensitivity to two pyrethroids, permethrin and deltamethrin of a DmNav variant expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Computer modeling predicts that the I265N mutation confers pyrethroid resistance by allosterically altering the second pyrethroid receptor site on the DmNav channel. Furthermore, we found that I265N-mediated pyrethroid resistance in parats1 mutant flies was almost completely abolished in parats1;DSC1−/− double mutant flies. Unexpectedly, however, the DSC1 knockout flies were less sensitive to DDT, compared to the control flies (w1118A), and the parats1;DSC1−/− double mutant flies were even more resistant to DDT compared to the DSC1 knockout or parats1 mutant. Our findings revealed distinct roles of the DmNav and DSC1 channels in the neurotoxicology of DDT vs. pyrethroids and implicate the exciting possibility of using DSC1 channel blockers or modifiers in the management of pyrethroid resistance.
PMCID: PMC4486006  PMID: 25687544
DSC1; voltage-gated sodium channel; DDT; pyrethroids insecticide resistance
6.  Quantitative Mapping of Trimethyltin Injury in the Rat Brain Using Magnetic Resonance Histology 
Neurotoxicology  2014;42:12-23.
The growing exposure to chemicals in our environment and the increasing concern over their impact on health have elevated the need for new methods for surveying the detrimental effects of these compounds. Today’s gold standard for assessing the effects of toxicants on the brain is based on hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained histology, sometimes accompanied by special stains or immunohistochemistry for neural processes and myelin. This approach is time-consuming and is usually limited to a fraction of the total brain volume. We demonstrate that magnetic resonance histology (MRH) can be used for quantitatively assessing the effects of central nervous system toxicants in rat models. We show that subtle and sparse changes to brain structure can be detected using magnetic resonance histology, and correspond to some of the locations in which lesions are found by traditional pathological examination. We report for the first time diffusion tensor image-based detection of changes in white matter regions, including fimbria and corpus callosum, in the brains of rats exposed to 8 mg/Kg and 12 mg/Kg trimethyltin. Besides detecting brain-wide changes, magnetic resonance histology provides a quantitative assessment of dose-dependent effects. These effects can be found in different magnetic resonance contrast mechanisms, providing multivariate biomarkers for the same spatial location. In this study, deformation-based morphometry detected areas where previous studies have detected cell loss, while voxel-wise analyses of diffusion tensor parameters revealed microstructural changes due to such things as cellular swelling, apoptosis, and inflammation. Magnetic resonance histology brings a valuable addition to pathology with the ability to generate brain-wide quantitative parametric maps for markers of toxic insults in the rodent brain.
PMCID: PMC4053477  PMID: 24631313
animal models; rat; MRI; environmental toxins; trimethyltin
7.  Functional MRI approach to developmental methylmercury and polychlorinated biphenyl neurotoxicity 
Neurotoxicology  2011;32(6):975-980.
Prenatal and early childhood exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are associated with deficits in cognitive, sensory, motor and other functions measured by neurobehavioral tests. The main objective of this pilot study was to determine whether functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is effective for visualization of brain function alterations related to neurobehavior in subjects with high prenatal exposure to the two neurotoxicants, MeHg and PCBs. Twelve adolescents (all boys) from a Faroese birth cohort assembled in 1986–1987 were recruited based on their prenatal exposures to MeHg and PCB. All underwent fMRI scanning during behavioral tasks at age 15 years. Subjects with high mixed exposure to MeHg and PCBs were compared to those with low mixed exposure on fMRI photic stimulation and a motor task. Boys with low mixed exposures showed patterns of fMRI activation during visual and motor tasks that are typical of normal control subjects. However, those with high exposures showed activation in more areas of the brain and different and wider patterns of activation than the low mixed exposure group. The brain activation patterns observed in association with increased exposures to MeHg and PCBs are meaningful in regard to the known neurotoxicity of these substances. This methodology therefore has potential utility in visualizing structural neural system determinants of exposure-induced neurobehavioral dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC4410805  PMID: 21545807
Developmental neurotoxicity; Environmental exposure; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Methylmercury; Neurotoxicity syndromes; Polychlorinated biphenyls; Prenatal exposure delayed effects
8.  Consequences of Developmental Exposure to Concentrated Ambient Ultrafine Particle Air Pollution Combined with the Adult Paraquat and Maneb Model of the Parkinson’s Disease Phenotype in Male Mice 
Neurotoxicology  2014;41:80-88.
Current evidence suggests suceptibility of both the substantia nigra and striatum to exposure to components of air pollution. Further, air pollution has been associated with increased risk of PD diagnsosis in humans or PD-like pathology in animals. This study examined whether exposure of mice to concentrated ambient ultrafine particles (CAPS; <100 nm diameter) during the first two weeks of life would alter susceptibility to induction of the Parkinson’s disease phenyotype (PDP) in a pesticide-based paraquat and maneb (PQ+MB) model during adulthood utilizing i.p. injections of 10 mg/kg PQ and 30 mg/kg MB 2× per week for 6 weeks. Evidence of CAPS-induced enhancement of the PQ+MB PDP was limited primarily to delayed recovery of locomotor activity 24 post injection of PQ+MB that could be related to alterations in striatal GABA inhibitory function. Absence of more extensive interactions might also reflect the finding that CAPS and PQ+MB appeared to differentially target the nigrostriatal dopamine and amino acid systems, with CAPS impacting striatum and PQ+MB impacting dopamine-glutamate function in midbrain; both CAPS and PQ+MB elevated glutamate levels in these specific regions, consistent with potential excitotoxicity. These findings demonstrate the ability of postnatal CAPS to produce locomotor dysfunction and dopaminergic and glutamateric changes, independent of PQ+MB, in brain regions involved in the PDP.
PMCID: PMC3978140  PMID: 24486957
Parkinson’s Disease; paraquat; maneb; particulate matter; ultrafine particles; dopamine; glutamate; locomotor activity; dopamine neurons
9.  Mechanical stretch exacerbates the cell death in SH-SY5Y cells exposed to paraquat: mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress 
Neurotoxicology  2014;41:54-63.
Recent studies suggest that traumatic brain injury (TBI) and pesticide exposure increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD), but the molecular mechanisms involved remain unclear. Using an in vitro model of TBI, we evaluated the role of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) induced by stretch on dopaminergic cell death upon paraquat exposure. Human dopaminergic neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells grown on silicone membrane were stretched at mild (25%) and moderate (50%) strain prior to paraquat exposure. We observed that moderate stretch (50% strain) increased the vulnerability of cells to paraquat demonstrated by the loss of plasma membrane integrity (propidium iodide-uptake) and decreased mitochondrial activity (MTT assay). Mitochondrial depolarization occurred immediately after stretch, while mitochondrial ROS increased rapidly and remained elevated for up to 4 h after the stretch injury. Intracellular glutathione (GSH) stores were also transiently decreased immediately after moderate stretch. Cells treated with paraquat, or moderate stretch exhibited negligible mitochondrial depolarization at 48 h post treatment, whereas in cells stretched prior to paraquat exposure, a significant mitochondrial depolarization occurred compared to samples exposed to either paraquat or stretch. Moderate stretch also increased mitochondrial ROS formation, as well as exacerbated intracellular GSH loss induced by paraquat. Overexpression of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) markedly diminished the deleterious effects of stretch in paraquat neurotoxicity. Our findings demonstrate that oxidative stress induced by mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in the synergistic toxic effects of stretch (TBI) and pesticide exposure. Mitigation of oxidative stress via mitochondria-targeted antioxidants appears an attractive route for treatment of neurodegeneration mediated by TBI.
PMCID: PMC3986102  PMID: 24462953
traumatic brain injury; paraquat; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species; MnSOD
10.  Considerations on manganese (Mn) treatments for in vitro studies 
Neurotoxicology  2014;41:141-142.
Manganese (Mn) is an environmental risk factor for neuronal dysfunction and neurodegeneration of the basal ganglia and other brain regions. Aberrant brain Mn levels have been linked to Manganism, Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD) and other neurological disorders. Research on the cellular basis of Mn neurotoxicity has relied upon in vitro or non-human model systems. However, an analysis of relevant Mn concentrations for in vitro studies is lacking – and few studies have examined intracellular Mn levels. Here we perform calculations to evaluate in vitro exposure paradigms in relation to relevant in vivo levels of Mn post-exposure.
PMCID: PMC4004588  PMID: 24509086
11.  Sex-Dependent and Non-Monotonic Enhancement and Unmasking of Methylmercury Neurotoxicity by Prenatal Stress 
Neurotoxicology  2014;41:123-140.
Methylmercury (MeHg) and prenatal stress (PS) are risk factors for neurotoxicity that may co-occur in human populations. Because they also share biological substrates and can produce common behavioral deficits, this study examined their joint effects on behavioral and neurochemical effects in male and female rats. Dams had access to 0, 0.5 or 2.5ppm MeHg chloride drinking water from two weeks prior to breeding through weaning. Half of the dams in each of these treatment groups also underwent PS on gestational days 16–17. This yielded 6 groups/gender: 0-NS, 0-PS, 0.5-NS, 0.5-PS, 2.5-NS, and 2.5-PS. Behavioral testing began in young adulthood and included Fixed Interval (FI) schedule-controlled behavior, novel object recognition (NOR) and locomotor activity, behaviors previously demonstrated to be sensitive to MeHg and/or mediated by brain mesocorticolimbic dopamine glutamate systems targeted by both MeHg and PS. Behavioral deficits were more pronounced in females and included impaired NOR recognition memory only under conditions of combined MeHg and PS, while non-monotonic reductions in FI response rates occurred, with greatest effects at the 0.5ppm concentration; the less reduced 2.5ppm FI response rates were further reduced under conditions of PS (2.5-PS). Correspondingly, many neurochemical changes produced by MeHg were only seen under conditions of PS, particularly in striatum in males and in hippocampus and nucleus accumbens in females, regions of significance to the mediation of FI and NOR performance. Collectively these findings demonstrate sex-dependent and non-monotonic effects of developmental MeHg exposure that can be unmasked or enhanced by PS, particularly for behavioral outcomes in females but for both sexes in neurochemical changes, that were observed at MeHg exposure concentrations that did not influence either reproductive outcomes or maternal behavior. Thus, assessment of risks associated with MeHg may be underestimated in the absence of other extant risk factors with which it may share common substrates and effects.
PMCID: PMC4010107  PMID: 24502960
methylmercury; prenatal stress fixed interval schedule; novel object recognition; corticosterone; catecholamines; indoleamines
12.  Selenium exposure and depressive symptoms: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Trace Element Study 
Neurotoxicology  2014;41:167-174.
Selenium is an essential trace element important to neurotransmission, but toxic at high levels. Some studies suggest beneficial effects on mood. We assessed the association of selenium exposure with presence of depressive symptoms. Selenium exposure was measured in toenail samples collected in 1987 from 3,735 US participants (age 20–32 years) and depressive symptoms assessed in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010 using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Binary and polytomous logistic regression models were used to assess the relation of log2(selenium) and selenium quintiles with presence of depressive symptoms (CES-D score ≥ 27 or on antidepressant medication). Relative to selenium quintile 1, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for having depressive symptoms in 1990 for quintile 5 was 1.59 (95% CI: 1.01, 2.51) and a unit increase in log2(selenium), which represents a doubling of the selenium level, was associated with an OR=2.03 (95% CI: 1.12, 3.70). When examining 1, 2 or 3+ exams vs no exams with symptoms, the OR for quintile 5 was 1.73 (1.04, 2.89) for 3+ exams and for one exam and two exams, there were no associations. In a generalized estimating equations longitudinal model, a doubling of the selenium level was associated with a 56% higher odds of having depressive symptoms at an exam. Contrary to previously reported findings related to mood, higher level of selenium exposure was associated with presence of elevated depressive symptoms. More research is needed to elucidate the role of selenium in depressive disorders.
PMCID: PMC4030293  PMID: 24560993
depression; selenium; trace element; epidemiology
13.  Exposure to prenatal life events stress is associated with masculinized play behavior in girls 
Neurotoxicology  2014;41:20-27.
Previous research has shown that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can alter children’s neurodevelopment, including sex-typed behavior, and that it can do so in different ways in males and females. Non-chemical exposures, including psychosocial stress, may disrupt the prenatal hormonal milieu as well. To date, only one published study has prospectively examined the relationship between exposure to prenatal stress and gender-specific play behavior during childhood, finding masculinized play behavior in girls who experienced high prenatal life events stress, but no associations in boys. Here we examine this question in a second prospective cohort from the Study for Future Families. Pregnant women completed questionnaires on stressful life events during pregnancy, and those who reported one or more events were considered “stressed”. Families were recontacted several years later (mean age of index child: 4.9 years), and mothers completed a questionnaire including the validated Preschool Activities Inventory (PSAI), which measures sexually dimorphic play behavior. In sex-stratified analyses, after adjusting for child’s age, parental attitudes towards gender-atypical play, age and sex of siblings, and other relevant covariates, girls (n=72) exposed to prenatal life events stress had higher scores on the PSAI masculine sub-scale (β=3.48, p=0.006) and showed a trend towards higher (more masculine) composite scores (β=2.63, p=0.08). By contrast, in males (n=74), there was a trend towards an association between prenatal stress and higher PSAI feminine sub-scale scores (β=2.23, p=0.10), but no association with masculine or composite scores. These data confirm previous findings in humans and animal models suggesting that prenatal stress is a non-chemical endocrine disruptor that may have androgenic effects on female fetuses and anti-androgenic effects on male fetuses.
PMCID: PMC4098934  PMID: 24406375
prenatal stress; stress; pregnancy; play behavior; PSAI; sex differences; androgens; testosterone
14.  Elevated Blood Harmane (1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) Concentrations In Parkinson's Disease 
Neurotoxicology  2013;40:52-56.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a late-life neurodegenerative disease. Genetic and environmental factors play an etiological role. Harmane (1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-b]indole) is a potent tremor-producing neurotoxin that shows structural resemblance to 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP).
In 2002 and 2007, we demonstrated elevated blood harmane concentrations [HA] in essential tremor (ET) cases. We now assessed whether blood [HA] were elevated in Parkinson's disease (PD) as well.
Blood [HA] were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. Subjects comprised 113 PD cases and 101 controls.
Mean log blood [HA] in PD cases was double that of controls (0.59 ± 0.63 g −10/ml vs. 0.27 ± 0.63 g−10/ml, p <0.001). A non-parametric test on non-transformed data (median blood [HA] = 3.31 g −10/ml in cases and 1.44 g −10/ml in controls) also showed this difference (p <0.001). In unadjusted and then adjusted logistic regression analyses, log blood [HA] was associated with PD (odds ratio [OR]unadjusted 2.31, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.46 – 3.67, p <0.001; ORadjusted 2.54, 95% CI 1.55 – 4.16, p <0.001). In PD, log blood [HA] co-varied with family history, being lowest in PD cases with no family history (0.54 ± 0.60 g−10/ml) and highest in PD cases with a family history of both ET and PD (0.84 ± 0.68 g−10/ml)(p = 0.06).
Blood harmane appears to be elevated in PD. The finding needs to be reproduced in additional cohorts to assess its generalizability. The higher concentration in familial PD suggests that the mechanism may involve genetic factors.
PMCID: PMC3915406  PMID: 24300779
blood harmane concentration; Parkinson's disease
15.  Components of Air Pollution and Cognitive Function in Middle-aged and Older Adults in Los Angeles 
Neurotoxicology  2013;40:1-7.
While experiments in animals demonstrate neurotoxic effects of particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3), epidemiologic evidence is sparse regarding the relationship between different constituencies of air pollution mixtures and cognitive function in adults. We examined cross-sectional associations between various ambient air pollutants [O3, PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)] and six measures of cognitive function and global cognition among healthy, cognitively intact individuals (n=1,496, mean age 60.5 years) residing in the Los Angeles Basin. Air pollution exposures were assigned to each residential address in 2000–06 using a geographic information system that included monitoring data. A neuropsychological battery was used to assess cognitive function; a principal components analysis defined six domain-specific functions and a measure of global cognitive function was created. Regression models estimated effects of air pollutants on cognitive function, adjusting for age, gender, race, education, income, study and mood. Increasing exposure to PM2.5 was associated with lower verbal learning (β = −0.32 per 10 ug/m3 PM2.5, 95% CI = −0.63, 0.00; p = 0.05). Ambient exposure to NO2 >20 ppb tended to be associated with lower logical memory. Compared to the lowest level of exposure to ambient O3, exposure above 49 ppb was associated with lower executive function. Including carotid artery intima-media thickness, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis, in models as a possible mediator did not attenuate effect estimates. This study provides support for cross-sectional associations between increasing levels of ambient O3, PM2.5 and NO2 and measures of domain-specific cognitive abilities.
PMCID: PMC3946571  PMID: 24148924
air pollution; cognitive dysfunction; dementia; particulate matter; ozone; verbal learning
16.  Bortezomib alters microtubule polymerization and axonal transport in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons 
Neurotoxicology  2013;0:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.09.001.
Bortezomib is part of a newer class of chemotherapeutic agents whose mechanism of action is inhibition of the proteasome-ubiquitination system. Primarily used in multiple myeloma, bortezomib causes a sensory-predominant axonal peripheral neuropathy in approximately 30% of patients. There are no established useful preventative agents for bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy (BIPN), and the molecular mechanisms of BIPN are unknown. We have developed an in vitro model of BIPN using rat dorsal root ganglia neuronal cultures. At clinically–relevant dosages, bortezomib produces a sensory axonopathy as evidenced by whole explant outgrowth and cell survival assays. This sensory axonopathy is associated with alterations in tubulin and results in accumulation of somatic tubulin without changes in microtubule ultrastructure. Furthermore, we observed an increased proportion of polymerized tubulin, but not total or acetylated tubulin, in bortezomib-treated DRG neurons. Similar findings are observed with lactacystin, an unrelated proteasome-inhibitor, which argues for a class effect of proteasome inhibition on dorsal root ganglion neurons. Finally, there is a change in axonal transport of mitochondria induced by bortezomib in a time-dependent fashion. In summary, we have developed an in vitro model of BIPN that recapitulates the clinical sensory axonopathy; this model demonstrates that bortezomib induces an alteration in microtubules and axonal transport. This robust model will be used in future mechanistic studies of BIPN and its prevention.
PMCID: PMC3844018  PMID: 24035926
bortezomib; chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; peripheral neuropathy; neurotoxicity; dorsal root ganglia; rat
17.  Enhanced taupathy and AD-like pathology in aged primate brains decades after infantile exposure to Lead (Pb) 
Neurotoxicology  2013;0:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.07.010.
Late Onset Alzheimer Disease (LOAD) constitutes the majority of AD cases (~90%). Amyloidosis and tau pathology, which are present in AD brains, appear to be sporadic in nature. We have previously shown that infantile lead (Pb) exposure is associated with a change in the expression and regulation of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and its beta amyloid (Aβ) products in old age. Here we report that infantile Pb exposure elevated the mRNA and protein levels of tau as well as its transcriptional regulators namely specificity protein 1 and 3 (Sp1 and Sp3) in aged primates. These changes were also accompanied by an enhancement in site-specific tau phosphorylation as well as an increase in the mRNA and protein levels of cyclin dependent kinase 5 (cdk5). There was also a change in the protein ratio of p35/p25 with more Serine/Threonine phosphatase activity present in aged primates exposed to Pb as infants. These molecular alterations favored abundant tau phosphorylation and immunoreactivity in the frontal cortex of aged primates with prior Pb exposure. These findings provide more evidence that neurodegenerative diseases may be products of environmental influences that occur during the development.
PMCID: PMC3844042  PMID: 23973560
aging; Alzheimer’s disease; cdk5; hyperphosphorylation; lead; tau protein
18.  Dichlorvos exposure to the Kölliker-Fuse Nuclei is sufficient but not necessary for OP induced apnea 
Neurotoxicology  2013;0:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.06.009.
Patients exposed to organophosphate (OP) compounds demonstrate a central apnea. The Kölliker-fuse nuclei (KF) are cholinergic nuclei in the brainstem involved in central respiratory control. We hypothesize that exposure of the KF is both necessary and sufficient for OP induced central apnea. We performed an animal study of acute OP exposure. Anesthetized and spontaneously breathing Wistar rats (n=24) were exposed to a lethal dose of dichlorvos using three experimental models. Experiment 1 (n=8) involved systemic OP poisoning using subcutaneous (SQ) 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate (dichlorvos) at 100mg/kg or 3x LD50. Experiment 2 (n=8) involved isolated poisoning of the KF using stereotactic microinjections of dichlorvos (625 micrograms in 50 microliters) into the KF. Experiment 3 (n=8) involved systemic OP poisoning with isolated protection of the KF using SQ dichlorvos (100mg/kg) and stereotactic microinjections of organophosphatase A (OpdA), an enzyme that degrades dichlorvos. Respiratory and cardiovascular parameters were recorded continuously. Animals were followed post exposure for 1 hour or until death. There was no difference in respiratory depression between animals with SQ dichlorvos and those with dichlorvos microinjected into the KF. Despite differences in amount of dichlorvos (100mg/kg vs 1.8mg/kg) and method of exposure (SQ vs CNS microinjection), 10 min following dichlorvos both groups (SQ vs microinjection respectively) demonstrated a similar percent decrease in respiratory rate (51.5 vs 72.2), minute ventilation (49.2 vs 68.8) and volume of expired gas (17.5 vs 0.0). Animals with OpdA exposure to the KF during systemic OP exposure demonstrated less respiratory depression, compared to SQ dichlorvos alone (p<0.04). No animals with SQ dichlorvos survived past 25 min post exposure, compared to 50% of animals with OpdA exposure to the KF. In conclusion, exposure of the KF is sufficient but not necessary for OP induced apnea. Protection of the KF during systemic OP exposure mitigates OP induced apnea.
PMCID: PMC3844078  PMID: 23928117
Organophosphate; Kolliker-fuse; Organophosphatase; Central apnea; Respiratory failure
19.  Modifying roles of glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms on the association between cumulative lead exposure and cognitive function 
Neurotoxicology  2013;0:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.08.002.
Glutathione-S-transferase gene (GST) polymorphisms can result in variable ability of these enzymes to remove electrophilic substrates. We investigated whether the GSTP1 Val105 and GSTM1 deletion polymorphisms modify the lead-cognitive function association.
We used repeated measures analysis to compare the association between cumulative lead biomarkers—bone lead measured using K-shell X-Ray Fluorescence—and Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) score by GST variants, adjusted for covariates, among Normative Aging Study participants, a Boston-based prospective cohort of men. We had complete data for 698 men (providing 1292 observations) for GSTM1 analyses and 595 men (providing 1142 observations) for GSTP1 analyses.
A 15 μg/g higher tibia lead concentration (interquartile range of tibia lead) was associated with a 0.24 point decrement in MMSE score among GSTP1 Val105 variant carriers, which was significantly stronger than the association among men with only wild-type alleles (p=0.01). The association among GSTP1 Val105 carriers was comparable to that of 3 years of age in baseline MMSE scores. The association between tibia lead and MMSE score appeared progressively steeper in participants with increasingly more GSTP1 Val105 alleles. A modest association between tibia lead and lower MMSE score was seen among participants with the GSTM1 deletion polymorphism. Neither of the glutathione S-transferase variants was independently associated with cognitive function, nor with lead biomarker measures. The results pertaining to patella lead were similar to those observed for tibia lead.
Our results suggest that the GSTP1 Val105 polymorphism confers excess susceptibility to the cognitive effects of cumulative lead exposure.
PMCID: PMC3844089  PMID: 23958642
Lead; Glutathione S-transferase; Cognitive function; Environmental exposure; Gene-environment interaction
20.  Brain Levels of the Neurotoxic Pyridinium Metabolite HPP+ and Extrapyramidal Symptoms in Haloperidol-Treated Mice 
Neurotoxicology  2013;39:10.1016/j.neuro.2013.09.005.
The typical antipsychotic haloperidol is a highly effective treatment for schizophrenia but its use is limited by a number of serious, and often irreversible, motor side effects. These adverse drug reactions, termed extrapyramidal syndromes (EPS), result from an unknown pathophysiological mechanism. One theory relates to the observation that the haloperidol metabolite HPP+ (4-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-[4-(4-fluorophenyl)-4-oxobutyl]-pyridinium) is structurally similar to MPP+ (1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium), a neurotoxin responsible for an irreversible neurodegenerative condition similar to Parkinson's disease. To determine whether HPP+ contributes to haloperidol-induced EPS, we measured brain HPP+ and haloperidol levels in strains of mice at high (C57BL/6J and NZO/HILtJ) and low (BALB/cByJ and PWK/PhJ) liability to haloperidol-induced EPS following chronic treatment (7–10 adult male mice per strain). Brain levels of HPP+ and the ratio of HPP+ to haloperidol were not significantly different between the haloperidol-sensitive and haloperidol-resistant strain groups (P = 0.50). Within each group, however, strain differences were seen (P < 0.01), indicating that genetic variation regulating steady-state HPP+ levels exists. Since the HPP+ levels that we observed in mouse brain overlap the range of those detected in post-mortem human brains following chronic haloperidol treatment, the findings from this study are physiologically relevant to humans. The results suggest that strain differences in steady-state HPP+ levels do not explain sensitivity to haloperidol-induced EPS in the mice we studied.
PMCID: PMC3853124  PMID: 24107597
haloperidol; adverse drug reaction; tardive dyskinesia; mouse; HPTP; HPP+
21.  Neurodevelopmental effects in children associated with exposure to organophosphate pesticides: A systematic review 
Neurotoxicology  2013;39:158-168.
Many studies have investigated the neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal and early childhood exposures to organophosphate (OP) pesticides among children, but they have not been collectively evaluated. The aim of the present article is to synthesize reported evidence over the last decade on OP exposure and neurodevelopmental effects in children. The Data Sources were PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCO, SciVerse Scopus, SpringerLink, SciELO and DOAJ. The eligibility criteria considered were studies assessing exposure to OP pesticides and neurodevelopmental effects in children from birth to 18 years of age, published between 2002 and 2012 in English or Spanish. Twenty-seven articles met the eligibility criteria. Studies were rated for evidential consideration as high, intermediate, or low based upon the study design, number of participants, exposure measurement, and neurodevelopmental measures. All but one of the 27 studies evaluated showed some negative effects of pesticides on neurobehavioral development. A positive dose–response relationship between OP exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes was found in all but one of the 12 studies that assessed dose–response. In the ten longitudinal studies that assessed prenatal exposure to OPs, cognitive deficits (related to working memory) were found in children at age 7 years, behavioral deficits (related to attention) seen mainly in toddlers, and motor deficits (abnormal reflexes) seen mainly in neonates. No meta-analysis was possible due to different measurements of exposure assessment and outcomes. Eleven studies (all longitudinal) were rated high, 14 studies were rated intermediate, and two studies were rated low. Evidence of neurological deficits associated with exposure to OP pesticides in children is growing. The studies reviewed collectively support the hypothesis that exposure to OP pesticides induces neurotoxic effects. Further research is needed to understand effects associated with exposure in critical windows of development.
PMCID: PMC3899350  PMID: 24121005
Environmental exposure; Organophosphate pesticides; Neurotoxicant; Neurodevelopment; Children; Health
22.  Prostaglandin D2 toxicity in primary neurons is mediated through its bioactive cyclopentenone metabolites 
Neurotoxicology  2013;39:35-44.
Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is the most abundant prostaglandin in brain but its effect on neuronal cell death is complex and not completely understood. PGD2 may modulate neuronal cell death via activation of DP receptors or its metabolism to the cyclopentenone prostaglandins (CyPGs) PGJ2, Δ12-PGJ2 and 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-PGJ2, inducing cell death independently of prostaglandin receptors. This study aims to elucidate the effect of PGD2 on neuronal cell death and its underlying mechanisms. PGD2 dose-dependently induced cell death in rat primary neuron-enriched cultures in concentrations of ≥ 10 μM, and this effect was not reversed by treatment with either DP1 or DP2 receptor antagonists. Antioxidants N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and glutathione which contain sulfhydryl groups that can bind to CyPGs, but not ascorbate or tocopherol, attenuated PGD2-induced cell death. Conversion of PGD2 to CyPGs was detected in neuronal culture medium; treatment with these CyPG metabolites alone exhibited effects similar to those of PGD2, including apoptotic neuronal cell death and accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins. Disruption of lipocalin-type prostaglandin D synthase (L-PGDS) protected neurons against hypoxia. These results support the hypothesis that PGD2 elicits its cytotoxic effects through its bioactive CyPG metabolites rather than DP receptor activation in primary neuronal culture.
PMCID: PMC3904641  PMID: 23973622
Cell death; Cyclopentenone prostaglandins; DP receptors; Primary neuron; Prostaglandin D2; Ubiquitinated protein
23.  Methamphetamine alters reference gene expression in nigra and striatum of adult rat brain 
Neurotoxicology  2013;39:138-145.
The nigrostriatal dopaminergic system is a major lesion target for methamphetamine (MA), one of the most addictive and neurotoxic drugs of abuse. High doses of MA alter the expression of a large number of genes. Reference genes (RGs) are considered relatively stable and are often used as standards for quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) reactions. The purpose of this study was to determine whether MA altered the expression of RGs and to identify the appropriate RGs for gene expression studies in animals receiving MA. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with high doses of MA or saline. Striatum and substantia nigra were harvested at 2 hours or 24 hours after MA administration. The expression and stability of 10 commonly used RGs were examined using qRT-PCR and then evaluated by geNorm and Normfinder. We found that MA altered the expression of selected RGs. These candidate RGs presented differential stability in the striatum and in substantia nigra at both 2 hours and 24 hours after MA injection. Selection of an unstable RG as a standard altered the significance of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) mRNA expression after MA administration. In conclusion, our data show that MA site- and time- dependently altered the expression of RGs in nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. These temporal and spatial factors should be considered when selecting appropriate RGs for interpreting the expression of target genes in animals receiving MA.
PMCID: PMC3918345  PMID: 24042092
Methamphetamine; Housekeeping genes; Nigra; Real-time PCR; Reference genes; Striatum
24.  Different effects of selective dopamine uptake inhibitors, GBR 12909 and WIN 35428 on HIV-1 Tat toxicity in rat fetal midbrain neurons 
Neurotoxicology  2008;29(6):971-977.
Drug abuse is a risk factor for neurological complications in HIV infection. Cocaine has been shown to exacerbate HIV-associated brain pathology and enhance neurotoxicity of HIV-1 Tat and gp120 proteins. In this study, we found that the selective inhibitor of dopamine transporter (DAT) function, 1-[2-[bis(4- fluorophenyl) methoxy]ethyl]-4-(3-phenylpropyl) piperazine (GBR 12909, vanoxerine), but not the selective inhibitors of serotonin and norepinephrine (SERT and NET) transporters, sertraline and nizoxetine, emulated cocaine-mediated enhancement of Tat neurotoxicity in rat fetal midbrain primary cell cultures. Similar to cocaine, the significant increase of Tat toxicity in midbrain cell cultures was observed at micromolar dose (5 μM) of GBR 12909. However, different doses of another selective dopamine uptake inhibitor, WIN 35428 did not affect Tat neurotoxicity. The study supports the hypothesis that changes in control of dopamine (DA) homeostasis are important for the cocaine-mediated enhancement of HIV-1 Tat neurotoxicity. Our results also demonstrate that the inhibitors of DA uptake, which can bind to different domains of DAT, differ in their ability to mimic synergistic toxicity of cocaine and HIV-1 Tat in the midbrain cell culture.
PMCID: PMC4205582  PMID: 18606182
25.  Fluoxetine treatment ameliorates depression induced by perinatal arsenic exposure via a neurogenic mechanism 
Neurotoxicology  2014;44:98-109.
Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between arsenic exposure and increased rates of psychiatric disorders, including depression, in exposed populations. We have previously demonstrated that developmental exposure to low amounts of arsenic induces depression in adulthood along with several morphological and molecular aberrations, particularly associated with the hippocampus and the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The extent and potential reversibility of this toxin-induced damage has not been characterized to date. In this study, we assessed the effects of fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant, on adult animals exposed to arsenic during development. Perinatal arsenic exposure (PAE) induced depressive-like symptoms in a mild learned helplessness task and in the forced swim task after acute exposure to a predator odor (2,4,5-trimethylthiazoline, TMT). Chronic fluoxetine treatment prevented these behaviors in both tasks in arsenic-exposed animals and ameliorated arsenic-induced blunted stress responses, as measured by corticosterone (CORT) levels before and after TMT exposure. Morphologically, chronic fluoxetine treatment reversed deficits in adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) after PAE, specifically differentiation and survival of neural progenitor cells. Protein expression of BDNF, CREB, the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and HDAC2 was significantly increased in the dentate gyrus of arsenic animals after fluoxetine treatment. This study demonstrates that damage induced by perinatal arsenic exposure is reversible with chronic fluoxetine treatment resulting in restored resiliency to depression via a neurogenic mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4180420  PMID: 24952232
Arsenic; Psychiatric disorders; Neurogenesis; Fluoxetine; Stress

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