PCBs and tight junction expression

Sung Yong Eum, Ibolya E. András, Pierre Olivier Couraud, Bernhard Hennig, Michal Toborek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners exhibit a broad range of adverse biological effects including neurotoxicity. The mechanisms by which PCBs cause neurotoxic effects are still not completely understood. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a physical and metabolic barrier separating brain microenvironment from the peripheral circulation and is mainly composed of endothelial cells connected by tight junctions. We examined the effects of several highly chlorinated PCB congeners on expression of tight junction proteins in human brain endothelial cells. Treatment for 24 h with selective PCB congeners disrupted expression of the cytosolic scaffold proteins of tight junctions, such as zonula occludens (ZO)-1, ZO-2, and AF6. In contrast, PCB exposure did not alter expression of integral membrane proteins, junctional adhesion molecule-A (JAM-A), and claudin-1. Based on these data, we suggest that PCB-mediated selective alterations of tight junction protein expression may contribute to their neurotoxic effects in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-240
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by NIH (P42 ES 07380, MH63022, MH072567, and NS39254).


  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Tight junctions
  • Zonula occludens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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