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Special Issue "Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Jose A. Centeno (Website)

Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Division of Biology, Chemistry and Materials Science, US Food and Drug Administration, White Oak Campus, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA
Phone: +1-301-796-2487
Interests: environmental toxicology; environmental pathology; medical geology; health effects of trace elements; metals and metalloids

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, there has been an increasing public awareness of the potential risk to humans from exposure to a wide range of natural and anthropogenic toxic agents in the environment, generating demand for new and improved methods for toxicity assessment and rational means for estimating health risk.  There are many environmental agents such as metal ions, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, herbicides, UV-light, food additives, and viruses that are known to induce various types of diseases and cancer in humans.  For example, toxic metals such as lead, chromium, and mercury have been shown to induce birth effects, and learning disability in children. There is also evidence demonstrating that chemical agents found in our natural environmental (e.g., arsenic) can greatly enhance the risk of cancer in humans.  Understanding the effects on humans from exposure to many of these environmental agents is a complex undertaking and one that requires the development and application of toxicologic, pathologic, and epidemiological approaches.  The aim of this special issue is to provide an opportunity to share the most recent advances on new techniques and studies dealing with Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology of diseases processes.  Relevant topics are invited including clinical toxicology, risk assessment, hazard identification and characterization, exposure assessment and biological monitoring, environmental epidemiology, and studies describing mechanism of cellular and molecular damage.

Dr. José A. Centeno
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Genotoxic Changes to Rodent Cells Exposed in Vitro to Tungsten, Nickel, Cobalt and Iron
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(3), 2922-2940; doi:10.3390/ijerph110302922
Received: 27 December 2013 / Revised: 21 February 2014 / Accepted: 25 February 2014 / Published: 10 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (654 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tungsten-based materials have been proposed as replacements for depleted uranium in armor-penetrating munitions and for lead in small-arms ammunition. A recent report demonstrated that a military-grade composition of tungsten, nickel, and cobalt induced a highly-aggressive, metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma when implanted into the leg [...] Read more.
Tungsten-based materials have been proposed as replacements for depleted uranium in armor-penetrating munitions and for lead in small-arms ammunition. A recent report demonstrated that a military-grade composition of tungsten, nickel, and cobalt induced a highly-aggressive, metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma when implanted into the leg muscle of laboratory rats to simulate a shrapnel wound. The early genetic changes occurring in response to embedded metal fragments are not known. In this study, we utilized two cultured rodent myoblast cell lines, exposed to soluble tungsten alloys and the individual metals comprising the alloys, to study the genotoxic effects. By profiling cell transcriptomes using microarray, we found slight, yet distinct and unique, gene expression changes in rat myoblast cells after 24 h metal exposure, and several genes were identified that correlate with impending adverse consequences of ongoing exposure to weapons-grade tungsten alloy. These changes were not as apparent in the mouse myoblast cell line. This indicates a potential species difference in the cellular response to tungsten alloy, a hypothesis supported by current findings with in vivo model systems. Studies examining genotoxic-associated gene expression changes in cells from longer exposure times are warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology)
Open AccessArticle Embedded Fragments from U.S. Military Personnel—Chemical Analysis and Potential Health Implications
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 1261-1278; doi:10.3390/ijerph110201261
Received: 30 November 2013 / Revised: 27 December 2013 / Accepted: 2 January 2014 / Published: 23 January 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3596 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: The majority of modern war wounds are characterized by high-energy blast injuries containing a wide range of retained foreign materials of a metallic or composite nature. Health effects of retained fragments range from local or systemic toxicities to foreign body [...] Read more.
Background: The majority of modern war wounds are characterized by high-energy blast injuries containing a wide range of retained foreign materials of a metallic or composite nature. Health effects of retained fragments range from local or systemic toxicities to foreign body reactions or malignancies, and dependent on the chemical composition and corrosiveness of the fragments in vivo. Information obtained by chemical analysis of excised fragments can be used to guide clinical decisions regarding the need for fragment removal, to develop therapeutic interventions, and to better anticipate future medical problems from retained fragment related injuries. In response to this need, a new U.S Department of Defense (DoD) directive has been issued requiring characterization of all removed fragments to provide a database of fragment types occurring in combat injuries. Objectives: The objective of this study is to determine the chemical composition of retained embedded fragments removed from injured military personnel, and to relate results to histological findings in tissue adjacent to fragment material. Methods: We describe an approach for the chemical analysis and characterization of retained fragments and adjacent tissues, and include case examples describing fragments containing depleted uranium (DU), tungsten (W), lead (Pb), and non-metal foreign bodies composed of natural and composite materials. Fragments obtained from four patients with penetrating blast wounds to the limbs were studied employing a wide range of chemical and microscopy techniques. Available adjacent tissues from three of the cases were histologically, microscopically, and chemically examined. The physical and compositional properties of the removed foreign material surfaces were examined with energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass-spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), and confocal laser Raman microspectroscopy (CLRM). Quantitative chemical analysis of both fragments and available tissues was conducted employing ICP-MS. Results: Over 800 fragments have been characterized and included as part of the Joint Pathology Center Embedded Fragment Registry. Most fragments were obtained from penetrating wounds sustained to the extremities, particularly soft tissue injuries. The majority of the fragments were primarily composed of a single metal such as iron, copper, or aluminum with traces of antimony, titanium, uranium, and lead. One case demonstrated tungsten in both the fragment and the connected tissue, together with lead. Capsular tissue and fragments from a case from the 1991 Kuwait conflict showed evidence of uranium that was further characterized by uranium isotopic ratios analysis to contain depleted uranium. Conclusions: The present study provides a systematic approach for obtaining a full chemical characterization of retained embedded fragments. Given the vast number of combat casualties with retained fragments, it is expected that fragment analysis will have significant implications for the optimal short and long-term care of wounded service members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology)
Open AccessArticle A Microfluidic Device for Continuous Sensing of Systemic Acute Toxicants in Drinking Water
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(12), 6748-6763; doi:10.3390/ijerph10126748
Received: 5 September 2013 / Revised: 18 November 2013 / Accepted: 27 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1615 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A bioluminescent-cell-based microfluidic device for sensing toxicants in drinking water was designed and fabricated. The system employed Vibrio fischeri cells as broad-spectrum sensors to monitor potential systemic cell toxicants in water, such as heavy metal ions and phenol. Specifically, the chip was [...] Read more.
A bioluminescent-cell-based microfluidic device for sensing toxicants in drinking water was designed and fabricated. The system employed Vibrio fischeri cells as broad-spectrum sensors to monitor potential systemic cell toxicants in water, such as heavy metal ions and phenol. Specifically, the chip was designed for continuous detection. The chip design included two counter-flow micromixers, a T-junction droplet generator and six spiral microchannels. The cell suspension and water sample were introduced into the micromixers and dispersed into droplets in the air flow. This guaranteed sufficient oxygen supply for the cell sensors. Copper (Cu2+), zinc (Zn2+), potassium dichromate and 3,5-dichlorophenol were selected as typical toxicants to validate the sensing system. Preliminary tests verified that the system was an effective screening tool for acute toxicants although it could not recognize or quantify specific toxicants. A distinct non-linear relationship was observed between the zinc ion concentration and the Relative Luminescence Units (RLU) obtained during testing. Thus, the concentration of simple toxic chemicals in water can be roughly estimated by this system. The proposed device shows great promise for an early warning system for water safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Lead Ions Encapsulated in Liposomes and Their Effect on Staphylococcus aureus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(12), 6687-6700; doi:10.3390/ijerph10126687
Received: 4 September 2013 / Revised: 6 November 2013 / Accepted: 7 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (973 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the study was the preparation of a liposome complex with encapsulated lead ions, which were electrochemically detected. In particular, experiments were focused on the potential of using an electrochemical method for the determination of free and liposome-encapsulated lead and [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was the preparation of a liposome complex with encapsulated lead ions, which were electrochemically detected. In particular, experiments were focused on the potential of using an electrochemical method for the determination of free and liposome-encapsulated lead and determination of the encapsulation efficiency preventing the lead toxicity. Primarily, encapsulation of lead ions in liposomes and confirmation of successful encapsulation by electrochemical methods was done. Further, the reduction effect of the liposome matrix on the detected electrochemical signal was monitored. Besides encapsulation itself, comparison of toxicity of free lead ions and lead ions encapsulated in liposome was tested. The calculated IC50 values for evaluating the lead cytotoxicity showed significant differences between the lead enclosed in liposomes (28 µM) and free lead ions (237 µM). From the cytotoxicity studies on the bacterial strain of S. aureus it was observed that the free lead ions are less toxic in comparison with lead encapsulated in liposomes. Liposomes appear to be a suitable carrier of various substances through the inner cavity. Due to the liposome structure the lead enclosed in the liposome is more easily accepted into the cell structure and the toxicity of the enclosed lead is higher in comparison to free lead ions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology)
Open AccessArticle A General Model of Dioxin Contamination in Breast Milk: Results from a Study on 94 Women from the Caserta and Naples Areas in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 5953-5970; doi:10.3390/ijerph10115953
Received: 26 July 2013 / Revised: 24 October 2013 / Accepted: 25 October 2013 / Published: 8 November 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (900 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: The Caserta and Naples areas in Campania Region experience heavy environmental contamination due to illegal waste disposal and burns, thus representing a valuable setting to develop a general model of human contamination with dioxins (PCDDs-PCDFs) and dioxin-like-PCBs (dl-PCBs). Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: The Caserta and Naples areas in Campania Region experience heavy environmental contamination due to illegal waste disposal and burns, thus representing a valuable setting to develop a general model of human contamination with dioxins (PCDDs-PCDFs) and dioxin-like-PCBs (dl-PCBs). Methods: 94 breastfeeding women (aged 19–32 years; mean age 27.9 ± 3.0) were recruited to determine concentrations of PCDDs-PCDFs and dl-PCBs in their milk. Individual milk samples were collected and analyzed according to standard international procedures. A generalized linear model was used to test potential predictors of pollutant concentration in breast milk: age, exposure to waste fires, cigarette smoking, diet, and residence in high/low risk area (defined at high/low environmental pressure by a specific 2007 WHO report). A Structural Equation Model (SEM) analysis was carried out by taking into account PCDDs-PCDFs and dl-PCBs as endogenous variables and age, waste fires, risk area and smoking as exogenous variables. Results: All milk samples were contaminated by PCDDs-PCDFs (8.6 pg WHO-TEQ/98g fat ± 2.7; range 3.8–19) and dl-PCBs (8.0 pg WHO-TEQ/98g fat ± 3.7; range 2.5–24), with their concentrations being associated with age and exposure to waste fires (p < 0.01). Exposure to fires resulted in larger increases of dioxins concentrations in people living in low risk areas than those from high risk areas (p < 0.01). Conclusions: A diffuse human exposure to persistent organic pollutants was observed in the Caserta and Naples areas. Dioxins concentration in women living in areas classified at low environmental pressure in 2007 WHO report was significantly influenced by exposure to burns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology)

Review

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Open AccessReview Engineered Nanomaterials in Food: Implications for Food Safety and Consumer Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(6), 5720-5750; doi:10.3390/ijerph110605720
Received: 24 January 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (365 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
From the current state-of-the-art, it is clear that nanotechnology applications are expected to bring a range of benefits to the food sector aiming at providing better quality and conservation. In the meantime, a growing number of studies indicate that the exposure to [...] Read more.
From the current state-of-the-art, it is clear that nanotechnology applications are expected to bring a range of benefits to the food sector aiming at providing better quality and conservation. In the meantime, a growing number of studies indicate that the exposure to certain engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) has a potential to lead to health complications and that there is a need for further investigations in order to unravel the biological outcomes of nanofood consumption. In the current review, we summarize the existing data on the (potential) use of ENMs in the food industry, information on the toxicity profiles of the commonly applied ENMs, such as metal (oxide) nanoparticles (NPs), address the potential food safety implications and health hazards connected with the consumption of nanofood. A number of health complications connected with the human exposure to ENMs are discussed, demonstrating that there is a real basis for the arisen concern not only connected with the gut health, but also with the potency to lead to systemic toxicity. The toxicological nature of hazard, exposure levels and risk to consumers from nanotechnology-derived food are on the earliest stage of investigation and this review also highlights the major gaps that need further research and regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances on Environmental and Toxicologic Pathology)

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