Neurochemical Research

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 355–364 | Cite as

In Vitro Effects of Environmentally Relevant Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Congeners on Calcium Buffering Mechanisms in Rat Brain

  • Cary G. Coburn
  • Margarita C. Currás-Collazo
  • Prasada Rao S. KodavantiEmail author
Original Paper


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are widely used as additive flame-retardants and have been detected in human blood, adipose tissue, and breast milk. Developmental and long-term exposures to these chemicals may pose a human health risk, especially to children. We have previously demonstrated that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are structurally similar to PBDEs and cause neurotoxicity, perturb intracellular signaling events including calcium homeostasis and protein kinase C translocation, which are critical for neuronal function and development of the nervous system. The objective of the present study was to test whether environmentally relevant PBDE congeners 47 and 99 are also capable of disrupting Ca2 + homeostasis. Calcium buffering was determined by measuring 45Ca2 + -uptake by microsomes and mitochondria, isolated from adult male rat brain (frontal cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, and hypothalamus). Results show that PBDEs 47 and 99 inhibit both microsomal and mitochondrial 45Ca2 + -uptake in a concentration-dependent manner. The effect of these congeners on 45Ca2 + -uptake is similar in all four brain regions though the hypothalamus seems to be slightly more sensitive. Among the two preparations, the congeners inhibited 45Ca2 + -uptake in mitochondria to a greater extent than in microsomes. These results indicate that PBDE 47 and PBDE 99 congeners perturb calcium signaling in rat brain in a manner similar to PCB congeners, suggesting a common mode of action of these persistent organic pollutants.


Calcium signaling Cortex Cerebellum Hippocampus Hypothalamus Intracellular signaling Neurotoxicity Persistent chemicals Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) 



The authors thank Drs. Ram Ramabhadran and John Cowden of USEPA and Dr. Bommana Loganathan of Murray State University for their comments on an earlier version of this paper. Work described in this paper was partially funded through EPA contract EP06D000030 awarded to CGC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cary G. Coburn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margarita C. Currás-Collazo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Prasada Rao S. Kodavanti
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Toxicology Graduate ProgramUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Cellular and Molecular Toxicology Branch, Neurotoxicology Division, B 105-06NHEERL/ORD, U.S. Environmental Protection AgencyResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cell Biology and NeuroscienceUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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