Study Title:

Inapproproate BDNF/TrkB Activation May Lead to Cancer

Study Abstract

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Western women and while its precise etiology is unknown, environmental factors are thought to play a role. The organochlorine pesticide dieldrin is a persistent environmental toxicant thought to increase the risk of breast cancer and reduce survival in the human population. The objective of this study was to define the effect of developmental exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of dieldrin, on mammary tumor development in the offspring. Sexually mature FVB-MMTV/neu female mice were treated with vehicle (corn oil), or dieldrin (0.45, 2.25, and 4.5 microg/g body weight) daily by gavage for 5 days prior to mating and then once weekly throughout gestation and lactation until weaning. Dieldrin concentrations were selected to produce serum levels representative of human background body burdens, occupational exposure, and overt toxicity. Treatment had no effect on litter size, birth weight or the number of pups surviving to weaning. The highest dose of dieldrin significantly increased the total tumor burden and the volume and number of tumors found in the thoracic mammary glands. Increased mRNA and protein expression of the neurotrophin BDNF and its receptor TrkB was increased in tumors from the offspring of dieldrin treated dams. This study indicates that developmental exposure to the environmental contaminant dieldrin causes increased tumor burden in genetically predisposed mice. Dieldrin exposure also altered the expression of BNDF and TrkB, novel modulators of cancer pathogenesis.

Study Information

Cameron HL, Foster WG.
Developmental and lactational exposure to dieldrin alters mammary tumorigenesis in Her2/neu transgenic mice.
PLoS One.
2009 January
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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