Molecular Mechanisms of Marine Organohalogen Bioaccumulation and Neurotoxicity

Amro Hamdoun, Ph.D.
Isaac Pessah, Ph.D.

NIEHS Grant: R01ES030318

Naturally occurring and man-made organohalogen compounds, some of which are toxic, accumulate in marine food webs and in fish that humans consume. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego are examining the cellular mechanisms by which these pollutants accumulate in marine life. The research team is determining how organohalogen pollutants affect xenobiotic transporters, which are molecules in the body that limit the accumulation of toxic chemicals in cells. They are also using recent gene editing advances in sea urchins to better understand how xenobiotic transporters limit pollutant accumulation in marine cells. Using mouse cell cultures, researchers are examining the effect of marine pollutants on calcium channels, which are essential for healthy development of neuronal networks. Taken together, these studies will provide a better understanding of how humans are exposed to marine organohalogen pollutants through seafood consumption, and its potential effects on brain development.