[en] INTRODUCTION: Hippocampal newborn neurons integrate into functional circuits where they play an important role in learning and memory. We previously showed that perinatal exposure to Aroclor 1254, a commercial mixture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) associated with alterations of cognitive function in children, disrupted the normal maturation of excitatory synapses in the dentate gyrus. We hypothesized that hippocampal immature neurons underlie some of the cognitive effects of PCBs.
METHODS: We used newly-generated neurons to examine the effects of PCBs in mice following maternal exposure. Newborn dentate granule cells were tagged with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) using a transgenic mouse line. The transcriptome of the newly generated granule cells was assessed using RNA sequencing.
RESULTS: Gestational and lactational exposure to 6 mg/kg/day of Aroclor 1254 disrupted the mRNA expression of 1308 genes in newborn granule cells. Genes involved in mitochondrial functions were highly enriched with 154 genes significantly increased in exposed compared to control mice. The upregulation of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation was accompanied by signs of endoplasmic reticulum stress and an increase in lipid peroxidation, a marker of oxidative stress, in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus but not in mature granule cells in the granular zone. Aroclor 1254 exposure also disrupted the expression of synaptic genes. Using laser-captured subgranular and granular zones, this effect was restricted to the subgranular zone, where newborn neurons are located.
CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that gene expression in newborn granule cells is disrupted by Aroclor 1254 and provide clues to the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the brain.