Ortho-substituted polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners, which constitute a large part of PCB residues found in the environment and in animal tissues, are known to exert potent vascular effects and can activate endothelial cells in the periphery and in the brain. The choroid plexus (CP) is responsible for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) production and its epithelial cell layer is responsible for structure and functions of the blood-CSF barrier. The aims of this study were: 1) to investigate if environmentally relevant doses of PCB153 and similar doses of PCB104 caused changes in the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) - receptor system, which maintains CP function, and 2) to determine the level of both congeners in blood plasma after their oral administration. Studies of both congeners were performed on ovariectomized ewes treated per os with low doses (0.1 mg/kg, three times a week for two weeks) of PCB153 (n=4) or PCB104 (n=4) and vehicle (control, n=4). The effects of PCB153 and PCB104 treatment on mRNA expression of two isoforms of VEGF (VEGF120 and VEGF164) and their receptors Flt-1 and KDR were determined using real-time PCR. Plasma concentration of PCBs was measured using high resolution chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HRGC/MS-MS). We observed that neither PCB153 nor PCB104 significantly altered the mRNA of the VEGF-receptor system in the CP. In PCB treated animals plasma concentration of PCB153 (1.425 ± 0.16 ng/g of dry mass, DM) was about 150 times higher than PCB104 (0.009 ± 0.007ng/g DM). In control animals the PCB153 level was 0.14 ± 0.031 ng/g DM, while the PCB104 level was below detection level. This indicates that increase in plasma PCB153 concentration to levels similar to those reported in humans and of PCB104 concentration to levels 100 times higher than those found in human plasma did not affect the VEGF-receptor system in the CP in adult ewes. The significantly lower increase of PCB104 than PCB153 concentration in blood after oral administration suggests different absorption of both congeners from the digestive tract.
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