Abstract: Neurotransmission is the basis of neuronal communication and is critical for normal brain development, behavior, learning, and memory. Exposure to drugs and chemicals can alter neurotransmission, often through unknown pathways and mechanisms. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) model system is increasingly being used to study the brain and chemical neurotoxicity. In this review, the major neurotransmitter systems, including glutamate, GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, acetylcholine, histamine, and glutamate are surveyed and pathways of synthesis, transport, metabolism, and action are examined. Differences between human and zebrafish neurochemical pathways are highlighted. We also review techniques for evaluating neurological function, including the measurement of neurotransmitter levels, assessment of gene expression through transcriptomic analysis, and the recording of neurobehavior. Finally examples of chemical toxicity studies evaluating alterations in neurotransmitter systems in the zebrafish model are reviewed.
Abstract: The developmental period of the nervous system is carefully orchestrated and highly vulnerable to alterations. One crucial factor of a properly-functioning nervous system is the synapse, as synaptic signaling is critical for the formation and maturation of neural circuits. Studies show that genetic and environmental impacts can affect diverse components of synaptic function. Importantly, synaptic dysfunction is known to be associated with neurologic and psychiatric disorders, as well as more subtle cognitive, psychomotor, and sensory defects. Given the importance of the synapse in numerous domains, we wanted to delineate the effects of pesticide exposure on synaptic function. In this review, we summarize current epidemiologic and molecular studies that demonstrate organochlorine, organophosphate, and pyrethroid pesticide exposures target the developing synapse. We postulate that the synapse plays a central role in synaptic vulnerability to pesticide exposure during neurodevelopment, and the synapse is a worthy candidate for investigating more subtle effects of chronic pesticide exposure in future studies.
Abstract: Intensive crop production involves a high consumption of pesticides. This is a cause of major environmental concern because the presence of pesticides in water is becoming increasingly common. Physicochemical methods based on soil modification with organic residues have been developed to enhance the immobilization and/or degradation of pesticides in agricultural soils, which may control both the diffuse and the point pollution of soils and waters. This review summarizes the influence of spent mushroom substrate (SMS) on the environmental fate of pesticides when both are simultaneously applied in agriculture. The processes of adsorption, leaching and dissipation of these compounds in SMS-amended soils were evaluated at laboratory and field scale. Relationships were established between the experimental parameters obtained and the properties of the soils, the SMS, and the pesticides in order to determine the effect that the application of SMS in agricultural soils has on the environmental impact of pesticides. Accordingly, this review highlights the use of SMS as a strategy for the prevention and/or control of soil and water contamination by pesticides to strike a balance between agricultural development and the use of these compounds.
Abstract: Elevated concentrations of uranium and mercury have been detected in drinking water from public supply and agricultural wells in alluvial and granitic aquifers of the Ridaura basin located at Catalan Coastal Ranges (CCR). The samples showed high concentrations of U above the U.S. standards and the World Health Organization regulations which set a maximum value of 30 µg/L. Further, high mercury concentrations above the European Drinking Water Standards (1 μg/L) were found. Spatial distribution of U in groundwater and geochemical evolution of groundwater suggest that U levels appear to be highest in granitic areas where groundwater has long residence times and a significant salinity. The presence of high U concentrations in alluvial groundwater samples could be associated with hydraulic connection through fractures between the alluvial system and deep granite system. According to this model, oxidizing groundwater moving through fractures in the leucocratic/biotitic granite containing anomalous U contents are the most likely to acquire high levels of U. The distribution of Hg showed concentrations above 1 μg/L in 10 alluvial samples, mainly located near the limit of alluvial aquifer with igneous rocks, which suggests a possible migration of Hg from granitic materials. Also, some samples showed Hg concentrations comprised between 0.9 and 1.5 μg/L, from wells located in agricultural areas.
Abstract: Background: The impact of very low levels of air pollutants, particulate matter (PM10) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations, on human health is not well characterized. We examined the outcomes (30-day in-hospital mortality) of emergency hospitalizations of respiratory patients and the level of local pollutants on the day of admission. Methods: All emergency admissions (82,421 episodes in 44,660 patients) were recorded over 13 years (2002–2014) and mortality assessed. The median interquartile ranges (IQR) age was 64.5 (43.9, 78.5) years with the proportion of males at 48.5%. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to examine relationships between pollutant concentration (PM10 and SO2) and odds ratio (OR) for 30-day in hospital death, after adjustment for acuity. Results: Mortality related to each pollutant variable assessed (as quintiles of increasing atmospheric concentration). For PM10 mortality, the highest two quintiles concentrations were significantly increased (p < 0.001) with univariate ORs of 1.30. For SO2, the ORs were 1.32, 1.39, and 1.46, for the top three quintiles. There was also a strong relationship between the underlying respiratory function; with forced expiratory volume (FEV1) in 1 second (FEV1) ≥ 2.0L at the lowest PM10 quintile, mortality was 6.5% (95% CI: 6.1, 6.9) increasing to 9.5% (95% CI: 9.0, 10.0) at the highest PM10 quintile. For patients with FEV1 < 2.0L, the mortality at the lowest PM10 quintile was 9.9% (95% CI: 8.8, 10.9) increasing to 14.2% (95% CI: 12.8, 15.6) at the highest quintile. Conclusion: Despite air quality improvement, there was a clear relationship between pollutant concentration and outcomes for respiratory emergency admissions; additionally, the underlying level of pulmonary function was predictive of in-hospital mortality.
Abstract: African consumers and citizens are growingly aware of the wide range of toxic poisoning scenarios from different products and hazards. Recurrent episodes on poisoning that have been reported in Africa include toxic hazards in consumers’ products ranging from food to herbal medicine, drugs, and cosmetics. Chemical poisoning remains an issue that is overlooked by public health stakeholders in Africa. Available information on toxicovigilance systems and practices in African countries is reviewed in terms of increasing development, organization and articulation levels. Less than nine out of 54 African countries have a legally recognized toxicovigilance system. Of these, the majority have created toxicovigilance systems recently, and are facing many challenges in developing them, at regional and country levels. Basic structures for a good toxicovigilance system include a phone line service (available 24/7), and hospital facilities. Pesticides emerge as the hazard recognized by all of the toxicovigilance systems, and may represent a prototypic toxicant towards a toxicovigilance system that is inclusive of a wider spectrum of toxicological hazards for the protection of community health. Toxicovigilance today is more reactive than preventive in Africa, but some milestones are present that constitute some promising seminal efforts.