Investigating neurodegenerative effects of environmental contaminants in vitro



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Neurodegenerative diseases refer to a group of conditions leading to the progressive loss of the structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous system. These conditions have become more evident with successful management of other non-infectious diseases such as heart disease and cancer. While some of these disease conditions have been attributed to genetic causes, environmental contaminants have been implicated from recent research, to play a role in the etiology of the disease. In this dissertation, a brief introduction about neurodegenerative diseases and environmental contaminants will be discussed, followed by a literature review about the role of neurofilament proteins in neurodegenerative diseases. Also, research input from effects of exposure of environmental contaminants DDT, MCP and PFOA on neuronal stem cells (NT2 stem cells) and associated glia cells (Astroglia SVG) was conducted. Their responses were evaluated using molecular markers including cell viability assays, glutamate uptake levels assessed by LC-MS, gene expression using real time PCR, Protein expression using immunofluorescence and proteomics approaches. The results revealed significant effects on the cell lines after 24 to 72 hours exposure with reduction in cell viability. The results also showed increases in glutamate levels at varying doses between the cells from 24-48 hours. Significant changes in gene and protein expression was observed that are consistent with neurodegenerative disease markers. This research will enhance scientific information about the relationships between environmental contaminants and neurodegenerative diseases.

Embargo status: Restricted until January 2026. To request access, click on the PDF link to the left.



Neurofilament proteins, Neurodegeneration, Environmental contaminants, Neurotoxicity