Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)-induced changes in synaptic transmission are one of the effects of their neurotoxicity but the mechanism remains unknown. We assessed the in vivo effects of the PCBs mixture, Aroclor 1254 on the expression of neuronal proteins that are involved in the synaptic function and/or are associated with neurodegeneration. Wistar rats were treated orally with repeated doses of Aroclor 1254 and the levels of soluble alpha-synuclein, parkin, synaptophysin and amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the brain were determined by Western blotting. The results showed that Aroclor did not cause changes in the expression and processing of APP but at a dose 100 microg/g/day repeated for 6 days caused a decrease in the expression of alpha-synuclein in the cerebellum, cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus of the animals sacrificed 2 days after treatment. The decrease in alpha-synuclein was accompanied by a transient increase in parkin and synaptophysin levels. Interestingly, in the hypothalamus the levels of alpha-synuclein remained decreased after 21 days post treatment perhaps due to regional differences in the PCBs elimination or perhaps a more specific interaction with the dopaminergic cells that are present in the hypothalamus that needs to be investigated further.
Toxicology Letters, 2006, Vol 161, Issue 2, p. 152-8