Brain damage caused by plasticizers
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The plasticizers contained in many everyday objects can impair important brain functions in humans. Biologists show that even small amounts of the plasticizers bisphenol A and bisphenol S disrupt the transmission of signals between nerve cells in the brains of fish. The researchers consider it very likely that similar interference can also occur in the brains of adult humans. They, therefore, call for the rapid development of alternative plasticizers that do not pose a risk to the central nervous system.

Bisphenols are important plasticizers currently in use and are released at rates of hundreds of tons each year into the biosphere. However, for any bisphenol, it is completely unknown if and how it affects the intact adult brain, whose powerful homeostatic mechanisms could potentially compensate for any effects bisphenols might have on isolated neurons.

Here investigators analyzed the effects of one month of exposition to BPA or BPS on an identified neuron in the vertebrate brain, using intracellular in vivo recordings in the uniquely suited Mauthner neuron in goldfish.

The findings demonstrate an alarming and uncompensated in vivo impact of both BPA and BPS—at environmentally relevant concentrations—on essential communication functions of neurons in mature vertebrate brains and call for the rapid development of alternative plasticizers. The speed and resolution of the assay they present here could thereby be instrumental to accelerate the early testing phase of next-generation plasticizers.

Communications Biology
Source: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01966-w
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