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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ortho-substituted but not coplanar PCBs rapidly kill cerebellar granule cells.

Several PCB congeners were assessed for their cytotoxicity on cerebellar granule cells in an attempt to compare their structure-activity relationship as potential neurotoxicants and to assess the mechanisms associated with their toxicity. Flow cytometry was used to monitor the changes of a number of biochemical endpoints: membrane integrity, intracellular free calcium concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)), reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, mitochondrial membrane potential (Delta psi(m)), and cell size. The non-coplanar, ortho-substituted congeners, PCB 8 (2,4'-dichlorobiphenyl), PCB 28 (2,4,4'-trichlorobiphenyl), PCB 47 (2,4,2',4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl), and PCB 52 (2,5,2',5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl) (10 microM) killed neurons to different degrees within 30 min. Loss of viability was accompanied by increased [Ca(2+)](i) and decreased Delta psi(m). No significant changes of ROS level were observed during exposure. The coplanar congeners, PCB 77 (3,4,3',4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl), PCB 80 (3,5,3',5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl), and PCB 81 (3,4,5,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl) (10 microM), had no effects on membrane integrity, [Ca(2+)](i) or Delta psi(m) in this time period of exposure. In Ca(2+)-free Tyrode's medium, there was no [Ca(2+)](i) increase after exposure to the ortho-substituted congeners, but also no reduction in loss of membrane integrity, suggesting Ca(2+) influx was not the cause of viability loss. The mitochondrial uncoupler, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP) (1-2 microM), caused a large decrease of Delta psi(m), but only a slight loss of viability, which suggested that Delta psi(m) is not the primary cause of PCB 52-induced cell death. These studies show that ortho-substituted PCBs are toxic to cerebellar granule cells; however, their toxic action is not secondary to elevation of intracellular calcium, a change in mitochondrial membrane potential, or free radical generation.[1]


  1. Ortho-substituted but not coplanar PCBs rapidly kill cerebellar granule cells. Tan, Y., Song, R., Lawrence, D., Carpenter, D.O. Toxicol. Sci. (2004) [Pubmed]
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