Developmental heptachlor exposure increases susceptibility of dopamine neurons to N-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)in a gender-specific manner.

Richardson JR, Caudle WM, Wang MZ, Dean ED, Pennell KD, Miller GW
Neurotoxicology. 2008 29 (5): 855-63

PMID: 18577399 · PMCID: PMC2574680 · DOI:10.1016/j.neuro.2008.05.007

Parkinson's disease (PD) is primarily thought of as a disease of aging. However, recent evidence points to the potential for exposure to xenobiotics during development to increase risk of PD. Here, we report that developmental exposure to the organochlorine pesticide heptachlor alters the dopamine system and increases neurotoxicity in an animal model of PD. Exposure of pregnant mice to heptachlor led to increased levels of the dopamine transporter (DAT) and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) levels at both the protein and mRNA level in their offspring. Increased DAT and VMAT2 levels were accompanied by alterations of mRNA levels of nuclear transcription factors that control dopamine neuron development and regulate DAT and VMAT2 levels in adulthood. At 12 weeks of age, control and heptachlor-exposed offspring were administered a moderate dose (2 x 10mg/kg) of the parkinsonism-inducing agent MPTP. Greater neurotoxicity as evidenced by a greater loss of striatal dopamine and potentiation of increased levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein and alpha-synuclein was observed in heptachlor-exposed offspring. The neurotoxicity observed was greater in the male offspring than the female offspring, suggesting that males are more susceptible to the long-term effects of developmental heptachlor exposure. These data suggest that developmental heptachlor exposure causes long-term alterations of the dopamine system thereby rendering it more susceptible to dopaminergic damage in adulthood.

MeSH Terms (20)

Analysis of Variance Animals Animals, Newborn Disease Models, Animal Dopamine Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins Female Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental Heptachlor Homeodomain Proteins Male Mice Mice, Inbred C57BL MPTP Poisoning Neurons Pregnancy Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects Sex Factors Transcription Factors Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins

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