Superfund Research Program
Superfund Chemicals, Nutrition, and Multi-Organ Cardiovascular Risk
Final Progress Reports
It is unlikely that remediation alone will be sufficient to address the health impacts associated with chronic pollutant exposure because most environmental toxicants, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), are ubiquitous in the ecosystem. Thus, there is a need to explore preventive measures of environmental exposure and disease risk through positive lifestyle changes such as healthful nutrition. The data indicate that plant-derived diets enriched with fiber or bioactive food components such as polyphenols can prevent or decrease toxicant-induced inflammation. Over the last funding cycle, significant progress was made in examining mechanistic relationships between nutritional modulation of environmental toxicants and susceptibility to disease development including changes in cellular redox status and signaling pathways linked to inflammation. It was established that:
- Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-induced endothelial cell inflammation, both in vitro and in vivo, is linked to crosstalk between lipid membrane microdomains (i.e., caveolae) and the master regulator of antioxidant defense Nrf2 (Petriello et al., 2014);
- Dioxin-like PCBs can modulate NF-kappa-B signaling through epigenetic mechanisms and accelerate atherosclerosis in vivo (Liu et al., 2015; Petriello et al., 2018);
- The liver is a critical organ related to the pro-inflammatory potential of PCBs, and a compromised liver increases PCB-induced oxidative stress and metabolic dysfunction (Deng et al., 2019);
- Dietary intervention (e.g., enriched with green tea polyphenols or fiber) protect against disease risks linked to PCB exposure (Newsome et al., 2014; Deng et al., 2020).
Study outcomes resulted in over 10 refereed publications since 2018 (see Progress Report Publication List). In addition, the recent data implicate the toxic effects of dioxin-like PCBs on gut microbiota and host metabolism (Petriello et al., 2018; Hoffman et al., 2018, 2019).