Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Research shows how PCBs promote dendrite growth, may increase autism risk
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — New research from UC Davis and Washington State Univ shows that PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, launch a cellular chain of events that leads to an overabundance of dendrites — the filament-like projections that conduct electrochemical signals between neurons — and disrupts normal patterns of neuronal connections in the brain.
"Dendrite growth and branching during early development is a finely orchestra process, and the presence of certain PCBs confuses the conductor of that process," said Pamela Lein, a developmental neurobiologist and professor of molecular biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "Impaired neuronal connectivity is a common feature of a number of conditions, including autism spectrum disorders."

Reported today in two related studies in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the findings underscore the developing brain's vulnerability to environmental exposures and demonstrate how PCBs could add to autism risk.

Source: University of California - Davis Health System


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