The mechanism of neurodevelopmental toxicity of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) remains unclear. Recent evidence suggests that neurosteroids disorders play a vital role in BDE209 induced-neurodevelopmental toxicity. To explore the mechanism of it, pregnant ICR mice were orally gavaged with 0, 225, and 900 mg kg-1 BDE209 for about 42 days. Spatial learning and memory abilities of offspring were tested on postnatal day (PND) 21. Offspring were euthanized at PND26, the neuronal structure, neurosteroids level, and related proteins including neurosteroids synthase, ionotropic receptors and cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) pathway were evaluated, as well as Ca2+ concentration and the mitochondrial membrane potential (Mmp). Our results showed that BDE209 impaired learning and memory abilities and disrupted neuronal structure. Meanwhile, BDE209 decreased the pregnenolone (PREG), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), progesterone (PROG) and allopregnanolone (ALLO) levels in the serum and brain, as well as the mRNA and protein levels of cholesterol-side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc), steroid 17α-hy-droxylase (P450C17), 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) and steroid 5α-reductase of type I (5α-R) in the hippocampi. Also, BDE209 suppressed mRNA and protein levels of NR1, NR2A and NR2B subunits of the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor (NMDAR) and α1 subunit of the Gamma-amino butyric acid A receptor (GABAAR), but increased the levels of β2 and γ2 subunits of the GABAAR in the hippocampi. Moreover, BDE209 increased the Ca2+ concentration and phosphorylation extracellular regulated protein kinases (P-ERK) 1/2 level, but decreased the P-CREB and Mmp level in the hippocampi. These results indicate that BDE209 exposure during pregnancy and lactation is possible to affect learning and memory formation of offspring by the neurosteroid-mediated ionotropic receptors dysfunction.
Authors: Bo Qian, Zeng Zen, Zhaoxuan Zheng, Chengqiang Wang, Jiale Song
; Full Source: Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2021 Apr 13;217:112198. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112198.