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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Mar 2024 - 29 Mar 2024

2024 Mar 13

J Hazard Mater



ROS-dependent degeneration of human neurons induced by environmentally relevant levels of micro- and nanoplastics of diverse shapes and forms.


Vojnits K, de León A, Rathore H, Liao S, Zhao M, Gibon J, Pakpour S


Our study explores the pressing issue of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) inhalation and their subsequent penetration into the brain, highlighting a significant environmental health concern. We demonstrate that MNPs can indeed penetrate murine brain, warranting further investigation into their neurotoxic effects in humans. We then proceed to test the impact of MNPs at environmentally relevant concentrations, with focusing on variations in size and shape. Our findings reveal that these MNPs induce oxidative stress, cytotoxicity, and neurodegeneration in human neurons, with cortical neurons being more susceptible than nociceptors. Furthermore, we examine the role of biofilms on MNPs, demonstrating that MNPs can serve as a vehicle for pathogenic biofilms that significantly exacerbate these neurotoxic effects. This sequence of investigations reveals that minimal MNPs accumulation can cause oxidative stress and neurodegeneration in human neurons, significantly risking brain health and highlights the need to understand the neurological consequences of inhaling MNPs. Overall, our developed in vitro testing battery has significance in elucidating the effects of environmental factors and their associated pathological mechanisms in human neurons.