The research group of Mario Bortolozzi, Principal Investigator VIMM, contributed to the results of the research led by prof. Carlo Foresta of the University of Padua recently published in Environment International magazine, entitled “Impairment of human dopaminergic neurons at different developmental stages by perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) and differential human brain areas accumulation of perfluoroalkyl chemicals”.

The study started from the relationships between PFAS pollution and congenital abnormalities of the nervous system or behavioral and neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, autism and attention and hyperactivity disorders. It was developed to investigate whether in neuronal cells of specific areas of the brain there is an accumulation of PFAS.

This is a collaboration between several university groups and research teams, including my group at VIMM, which developed the culture of differentiated human stem cells into dopaminergic neurons that were used in the study to demonstrate the harmful effect of the PFAS – says Mario Bortolozzi, Principal Investigator VIMM and professor of Biophysics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Padua. – Our biophysical and electrophysiological expertise has allowed us to verify that these cultures were functional, that is, capable of “firing” the so-called action potentials, a sort of autograph signature of the neuron“.

In particular, it has been observed that PFAS at concentrations similar to those found in brain areas integrate with neuronal membranes, modifying their structure and stability. The effect of PFAS is more evident the earlier the ripening stage is. Studies are now underway to determine what the functional consequences of these observations are.

Link to research:

Authors: Andrea Di Nisio, Micaela Pannella, Stefania Vogatisi, Stefania Sut, Stefano Dall’Acqua, Maria Santa Rocca, Angelo Antonini, Andrea Porzionato, Raffaele De Caro, Mario Bortolozzi, Luca De Toni, Carlo Foresta