University of Oulu

Romero AN, Herlin M, Finnilä M, Korkalainen M, Håkansson H, Viluksela M, et al. (2017) Skeletal and dental effects on rats following in utero/lactational exposure to the non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl PCB 180. PLoS ONE12(9): e0185241.

Skeletal and dental effects on rats following in utero/lactational exposure to the non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl PCB 180

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Author: Romero, Ashly N.1; Herlin, Maria2; Finnilä, Mikko3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Anthropology, University of Arkansas
2Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute
3Research Group of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu
4Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland
5National Institute for Health and Welfare, Chemicals and Health Unit
6Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland
7Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Public Library of Science, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-11-23


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a large class of persistent organic pollutants that are potentially harmful to human and wildlife health. Although a small number of dioxin-like (DL) PCBs are well characterized, the majority of PCBs have non-dioxin-like (NDL) modes of action and biological effects that are less understood. We conducted a dose-response study of the skeletal and dental effects of in utero/lactational exposure to 2,2′,3,4,4′,5,5′-heptachlorobiphenyl (PCB 180), a NDL PCB congener that is abundantly present in the environment and foods, including mother’s milk. In a sample of 35- and 84-day-old male and female offspring from pregnant rats exposed to different doses of PCB 180 (0, 10, 30, 100, 300, and 1000 mg/kg bw), we measured the three-dimensional (3D) coordinates of 27 landmarks on the craniofacial skeleton with a Microscribe G2X system, the buccolingual width of all molars with digital sliding calipers, and a variety of tibial parameters with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) and a biomechanical testing apparatus. The landmark coordinates were analyzed for variation in size, shape, and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) using MorphoJ software, showing no effects on cranial size, on FA in females only (i.e., decreased asymmetry), and on shape in both sexes (i.e., decreased facial length and shift in the palatal suture). In the maxillary teeth, females in the highest dose group showed a significant decrease of 0.1 mm (p = 0.033) of the second molar only, whereas males in most dose groups showed average increases of 0.1 mm (p = 0.006–0.044) in all three molars. In the mandibular teeth, the only significant response to PCB 180 exposure was the average increase of 0.1 mm (p = 0.001–0.025) in the third molars of males only. Males also shower greater sensitivity in postcranial effects of increased tibial length and decreased cortical bone mass density, although only females showed significant effects on tibial bone area and thickness. These results demonstrate marked sex differences in effects of PCB 180, which can be attributed to differences in their underlying biological mechanisms of toxicity. Furthermore, although tooth and bone development are targets of both DL and NDL compounds, this study shows that there are marked differences in their mechanisms and effects.

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Series: PLoS one
ISSN: 1932-6203
ISSN-E: 1932-6203
ISSN-L: 1932-6203
Volume: 12
Issue: 9
Article number: e0185241
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185241
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
Funding: This study was funded by the European Commission (ATHON (Assessing the toxicity and hazards of NDL-PCBs present in food), FOOD-CT-2005-022923) to Matti Viluksela, and by the National Science Foundation (REU Site, EAR 1062692) to Ashly N. Romero. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Copyright information: This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.