Background: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are widely used flame retardants that bioaccumulate in human tissues. Their neurotoxicity involves dysregulation of calcium ion (Ca2+) signaling; however, specific mechanisms have yet to be defined. Objective: We aimed to define the structure-activity relationship (SAR) for PBDEs and their metabolites toward ryanodine receptors type 1 (RyR1) and type 2 (RyR2) and to determine whether it predicts neurotoxicity. Methods: We analyzed [3H]ryanodine binding, microsomal Ca2+ fluxes, cellular measurements of Ca2+ homeostasis, and neurotoxicity to define mechanisms and specificity of PBDE-mediated Ca2+ dysregulation. Results: PBDEs possessing two ortho-bromine substituents and lacking at least one para-bromine substituent (e.g., BDE-49) activate RyR1 and RyR2 with greater efficacy than corresponding congeners with two para-bromine substitutions (e.g., BDE-47). Addition of a methoxy group in the free para position reduces the activity of parent PBDEs. The hydroxylated BDEs 6-OH-BDE-47 and 4 ́-OH-BDE-49 are biphasic RyR modulators. Pretreatment of HEK293 cells (derived from human embryonic kidney cells) expressing either RyR1 or RyR2 with BDE-49 (250 nM) sensitized Ca2+ flux triggered by RyR agonists, whereas BDE-47 (250 nM) had negligible activity. The divergent activity of BDE-49, BDE-47, and 6-OH-BDE-47 toward RyRs predicted neurotoxicity in cultures of cortical neurons. Conclusions: We found that PBDEs are potent modulators of RyR1 and RyR2. A stringent SAR at the ortho and para position determined whether a congener enhanced, inhibited, or exerted nonmonotonic actions toward RyRs. These results identify a convergent molecular target of PBDEs previously identified for noncoplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that predicts their cellular neurotoxicity and therefore could be a useful tool in risk assessment of PBDEs and related compounds.
- Hydroxylated PBDE
- Methoxylated PBDE
- Polybrominated biphenyl ether (PBDE)
- Ryanodine receptor (RyR)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health