Title

Phthalate Esters Exacerbate Neurodegeneration in a Caenorhabditis elegans Parkinson’s Disease Model

Presenter Information

Jacob Darley

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137B

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Parkinson's, C. elegans, Plasticizers

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) extracts a significant medical and financial toll on the developed world and is second only to Alzheimer’s disease in terms of prevalence as a neurodegenerative disease. Up to 90 percent of PD cases are idiopathic or environmental in origin. Benzyl Butyl Phthalate (BBzP) and Bis (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate are plasticizers, compounds used in industry to improve the malleability and durability of plastic products, which were evaluated for their potential contribution to neurodegeneration of dopamine neurons in a Caenorhabditis elegans (roundworm) PD model. These phthalates were assessed for effect in two genetic worm strains of PD. The first genetic strain is a transgenic animal expressing the human alpha-synuclein gene that is known to contribute to PD in humans. The second strain was a transgenic animal that overexpressed tyrosine hydroxylase, leading to excess production of reactive oxygen species, another suspected cause of PD neurodegeneration in humans. It was discovered that different PD models were effected by different phthalate esters. DEHP induced neurodegeneration in non-genetically predisposed animals at ten days post-exposure and in the tyrosine hydroxylase model at seven and ten days post-exposure while BBzP only exacerbated neurodegeneration at ten days post-exposure. Further BBzP exacerbated neurodegeneration in the alpha-synuclein model at day seven and ten. Our results suggest that phthalate esters could be important in the development of PD.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Lucinda Carnell

Department/Program

Biological Sciences

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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Phthalate Esters Exacerbate Neurodegeneration in a Caenorhabditis elegans Parkinson’s Disease Model

SURC 137B

Parkinson’s disease (PD) extracts a significant medical and financial toll on the developed world and is second only to Alzheimer’s disease in terms of prevalence as a neurodegenerative disease. Up to 90 percent of PD cases are idiopathic or environmental in origin. Benzyl Butyl Phthalate (BBzP) and Bis (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate are plasticizers, compounds used in industry to improve the malleability and durability of plastic products, which were evaluated for their potential contribution to neurodegeneration of dopamine neurons in a Caenorhabditis elegans (roundworm) PD model. These phthalates were assessed for effect in two genetic worm strains of PD. The first genetic strain is a transgenic animal expressing the human alpha-synuclein gene that is known to contribute to PD in humans. The second strain was a transgenic animal that overexpressed tyrosine hydroxylase, leading to excess production of reactive oxygen species, another suspected cause of PD neurodegeneration in humans. It was discovered that different PD models were effected by different phthalate esters. DEHP induced neurodegeneration in non-genetically predisposed animals at ten days post-exposure and in the tyrosine hydroxylase model at seven and ten days post-exposure while BBzP only exacerbated neurodegeneration at ten days post-exposure. Further BBzP exacerbated neurodegeneration in the alpha-synuclein model at day seven and ten. Our results suggest that phthalate esters could be important in the development of PD.