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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of Kentucky

Superfund Research Program

Superfund Chemicals and Endothelial Cell Dysfunction

Project Leader: Bernhard Hennig
Grant Number: P42ES007380
Funding Period: 1997-2020

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Project Summary (1997-1999)

There is evidence that exposure to certain Superfund chemicals (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs) can be implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. Researchers in this project are investigating the hypothesis that PCBs are atherogenic by causing cell dysfunction and a subsequent disruption of endothelial barrier function. In addition to exploring molecular mechanisms of PCB-mediated disruption of endothelial cell permeability (decrease endothelial barrier function), investigators also are testing the hypothesis that diet-derived fats, especially unsaturated fats, can greatly alter the cellular lipid and the oxidant and antioxidant environment and thus influence the PCB-mediated cell dysfunction. Lastly, the hypothesis that certain antioxidant nutrients/chemicals are anti-atherogenic by protecting the endothelium from PCB-mediated cell injury is being investigated. Results of this research will help to identify future prophylactic and therapeutic interventions in Superfund chemical-mediated toxicity and diseases (e.g., atherosclerosis) associated with exposure to these environmental contaminants.

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