Exposure to Environmental Toxicants/Environmental Lead (Pb) Exposure
Lead (Pb) exposure is a widespread public health problem that continues to affect women and children. Interestingly, iron deficiency (ID) and exposure to Pb produces similar neurotoxic effects on the developing CNS and humans exposed to Pb are often also iron deficient. Although studies of these insults singularly suggest the potential for enhanced neurotoxicity in their combination, previous work has failed to address the impact of a combined exposure in relevant animal models. We utilized our maternal iron-deficient dietary model in combination with livelong Pb-exposure to examine the possible synergism of ID and Pb during neurodevelopment in the offspring. Our data suggest that maternal non-anemic ID strongly increases absorption of Pb into the CNS of offspring underscoring the importance of non-anemic ID as a susceptibility factor to environmental Pb toxicity. We are now characterizing the impact of the increased Pb burden on the ID brain.
This project, which is conduced in collaboration with Dr. Debbie Cory-Slechta (Environmental Health Science Center U of R) combines the unique expertize of our laboratory with the long standing commitment of the Cory-Slechta lab on Pb exposure.