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University of Kentucky

Superfund Research Program

Superfund Chemicals, Nutrition, and Endothelial Cell Dysfunction

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

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Project Summary (2000-2005)

The goal of this project is to test the hypothesis that specific dietary fats can potentiate PCB-mediated endothelial cell dysfunction and that specific nutrient interventions, such as increasing the intake of antioxidant nutrients/chemicals (e.g., vitamin E and glutathione precursors), can provide protection against PCB/lipid-mediated atherosclerosis. Preliminary evidence suggests that oxidative stress is a critical event in PCB-mediated endothelial cell dysfunction. Researchers are studying the interaction of specific PCBs with individual fatty acids, as well as fatty acid extracts derived from typical commercially available saturated and polyunsaturated fat sources. Rabbits are being fed diets enriched with the above mentioned fats and project investigators are studying the effects of lipoproteins derived from these animals on PCB-compromised endothelial cell integrity. A knock-out mouse model, which mimics the pathology of human atherosclerosis, is being utilized to correlate the effects of dietary fat and PCBs on atherogenic markers of endothelial cell dysfunction. Results from this work will provide valuable information towards therapeutic nutrition intervention for populations at or near Superfund sites.

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