Natural Marine and Synthetic Xenobiotics Get on Nematode’s Nerves: Neuro-Stimulating and Neurotoxic Findings in Caenorhabditis elegans

Marine algae release a plethora of organic halogenated compounds, many of them with unknown ecological impact if environmentally realistic concentrations are applied. One major compound is dibromoacetic acid (DBAA), which was tested for neurotoxicity in the invertebrate model organism Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). This natural compound was compared with the widespread synthetic xenobiotic tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBP-A) found in marine sediments and mussels. The authors found a neuro-stimulating effect for DBAA; this is contradictory to existing toxicological reports of mammals that applied comparatively high dosages. For TBBP-A, a hormetic concentration-effect relationship was detected. As chemicals rarely occur isolated in the environment, a combination of both organobromines was also examined. Surprisingly, the presence of DBAA increased the toxicity of TBBP-A. The authors concluded that the findings from this study demonstrated that organohalogens have the potential to affect single organisms especially by altering the neurological processes, even with promoting effects on exposed organisms.

Authors: Lieke T, Steinberg CE, Ju J, Saul N. ;Full Source: Marine Drugs. 2015 May 6;13(5):2785-812. doi: 10.3390/md13052785. ;