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Impact of Environmental Contaminants in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms and Human Health

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Toxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2023) | Viewed by 14564

Special Issue Editors

Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Science, University of Messina, 98166 Messina, Italy
Interests: ecotoxicology; heavy metals; mycotoxins; biochemistry; inflammation; biotechnology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Messina, 98155 Messina, Italy
Interests: veterinary pharmacology; toxicology; pharmacological activity of natural substances; nutraceuticals; dietary contaminants; animal welfare
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to contribute to a Special Issue focused on ecotoxicology.

Research on environmental contaminants has been growing in recent years, attracting considerable interest from the scientific community. Anthropogenic contaminants (drugs, pesticides, industrial products, micro- and nanoplastics, etc.) can come into contact with many animal species, but also, and especially, with humans. The action of contaminants in various organisms can alter various biological functions causing developmental delays during the early stages of development or worsen the clinical picture of a pre-existing disease. Through this Special Issue, we want to highlight the different mechanisms underlying the ecotoxicity of many substances, the potential synergistic effects, and the effects on human health.

In particular, we call for review articles and original research that pay attention to the effects of emerging contaminants on both marine organisms and humans, particularly to the molecular pathways involved within the toxic mechanism.

Dr. Alessio Filippo Peritore
Dr. Enrico Gugliandolo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • environmental contaminants
  • toxicology
  • human health
  • molecular biology

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1836 KiB  
Article
Bisphenol AF Induces Prostatic Dorsal Lobe Hyperplasia in Rats through Activation of the NF-κB Signaling Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216221 - 12 Nov 2023
Viewed by 609
Abstract
Bisphenol AF (BPAF) represents a common environmental estrogenic compound renowned for its capacity to induce endocrine disruptions. Notably, BPAF exhibits an enhanced binding affinity to estrogen receptors, which may have more potent estrogenic activity compared with its precursor bisphenol A (BPA). Notwithstanding, the [...] Read more.
Bisphenol AF (BPAF) represents a common environmental estrogenic compound renowned for its capacity to induce endocrine disruptions. Notably, BPAF exhibits an enhanced binding affinity to estrogen receptors, which may have more potent estrogenic activity compared with its precursor bisphenol A (BPA). Notwithstanding, the existing studies on BPAF-induced prostate toxicity remain limited, with related toxicological research residing in the preliminary stage. Our previous studies have confirmed the role of BPAF in the induction of ventral prostatic hyperplasia, but its role in the dorsal lobe is not clear. In this study, BPAF (10, 90 μg/kg) and the inhibitor of nuclear transcription factor-κB (NF-κB), pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC, 100 mg/kg), were administered intragastrically in rats for four weeks. Through comprehensive anatomical and pathological observations, as well as the assessment of PCNA over-expression, we asserted that BPAF at lower doses may foster dorsal prostatic hyperplasia in rats. The results of IHC and ELISA indicated that BPAF induced hyperplastic responses in the dorsal lobe of the prostate by interfering with a series of biomarkers in NF-κB signaling pathways, containing NF-κB p65, COX-2, TNF-α, and EGFR. These findings confirm the toxic effect of BPAF on prostate health and emphasize the potential corresponding mechanisms. Full article
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15 pages, 1316 KiB  
Article
Bioaccumulation of Non-Essential Trace Elements Detected in Women’s Follicular Fluid, Urine, and Plasma Is Associated with Poor Reproductive Outcomes following Single Euploid Embryo Transfer: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(17), 13147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241713147 - 24 Aug 2023
Viewed by 748
Abstract
This study aims to determine the association of non-essential trace elements present in follicular fluid, plasma, and urine with reproductive outcomes of women undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT-A) and single frozen euploid embryo transfer (SET/FET). This single-center, [...] Read more.
This study aims to determine the association of non-essential trace elements present in follicular fluid, plasma, and urine with reproductive outcomes of women undergoing intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT-A) and single frozen euploid embryo transfer (SET/FET). This single-center, prospective cohort study included sixty women undergoing ICSI with PGT-A and SET/FET between 2018 and 2019. Urine, plasma and follicular fluid samples were collected on the vaginal oocyte retrieval day to simultaneously quantify ten non-essential trace elements (i.e., Ba, Sr, Rb, Sn, Ti, Pb, Cd, Hg, Sb, and As). We found several associations between the levels of these non-essential trace elements and clinical IVF parameters. Specifically, the increased levels of barium in follicular fluid were negatively associated with ovarian function, pre-implantation development and embryo euploidy, while elevated strontium concentrations in this biofluid were negatively associated with impaired blastulation and embryo euploidy. Elevated plasma strontium levels were negatively associated with ovarian function, fertilization and blastulation. Enhanced presence of other trace elements in plasma (i.e., rubidium and arsenic) were associated with a diminished ovarian function and limited the number of recovered oocytes, mature oocytes and zygotes, respectively. Fully adjusted models suggested significantly lower odds of achieving a live birth when increased concentrations of barium and tin were found in urine. Full article
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Review

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21 pages, 2093 KiB  
Review
Current Review of Increasing Animal Health Threat of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Harms, Limitations, and Alternatives to Manage Their Toxicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11707; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411707 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2445
Abstract
Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), more than 4700 in number, are a group of widely used man-made chemicals that accumulate in living things and the environment over time. They are known as “forever chemicals” because they are extremely persistent in our environment [...] Read more.
Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), more than 4700 in number, are a group of widely used man-made chemicals that accumulate in living things and the environment over time. They are known as “forever chemicals” because they are extremely persistent in our environment and body. Because PFAS have been widely used for many decades, their presence is evident globally, and their persistence and potential toxicity create concern for animals, humans and environmental health. They can have multiple adverse health effects, such as liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity, fertility problems, and cancer. The most significant source of living exposure to PFAS is dietary intake (food and water), but given massive industrial and domestic use, these substances are now punctually present not only domestically but also in the outdoor environment. For example, livestock and wildlife can be exposed to PFAS through contaminated water, soil, substrate, air, or food. In this review, we have analyzed and exposed the characteristics of PFAS and their various uses and reported data on their presence in the environment, from industrialized to less populated areas. In several areas of the planet, even in areas far from large population centers, the presence of PFAS was confirmed, both in marine and terrestrial animals (organisms). Among the most common PFAS identified are undoubtedly perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), two of the most widely used and, to date, among the most studied in terms of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics. The objective of this review is to provide insights into the toxic potential of PFAS, their exposure, and related mechanisms. Full article
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19 pages, 1784 KiB  
Review
Pesticides and Their Impairing Effects on Epithelial Barrier Integrity, Dysbiosis, Disruption of the AhR Signaling Pathway and Development of Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(20), 12402; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232012402 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1947
Abstract
The environmental and occupational risk we confront from agricultural chemicals increases as their presence in natural habitats rises to hazardous levels, building a major part of the exposome. This is of particular concern in low- and middle-income countries, such as Brazil, known as [...] Read more.
The environmental and occupational risk we confront from agricultural chemicals increases as their presence in natural habitats rises to hazardous levels, building a major part of the exposome. This is of particular concern in low- and middle-income countries, such as Brazil, known as a leading producer of agricultural commodities and consumer of pesticides. As long as public policies continue to encourage the indiscriminate use of pesticides and governments continue to support this strategy instead of endorsing sustainable agricultural alternatives, the environmental burden that damages epithelial barriers will continue to grow. Chronic exposure to environmental contaminants in early life can affect crucial barrier tissue, such as skin epithelium, airways, and intestine, causing increased permeability, leaking, dysbiosis, and inflammation, with serious implications for metabolism and homeostasis. This vicious cycle of exposure to environmental factors and the consequent damage to the epithelial barrier has been associated with an increase in immune-mediated chronic inflammatory diseases. Understanding how the harmful effects of pesticides on the epithelial barrier impact cellular interactions mediated by endogenous sensors that coordinate a successful immune system represents a crucial challenge. In line with the epithelial barrier hypothesis, this narrative review reports the available evidence on the effects of pesticides on epithelial barrier integrity, dysbiosis, AhR signaling, and the consequent development of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Full article
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30 pages, 2837 KiB  
Review
Benzo[a]pyrene—Environmental Occurrence, Human Exposure, and Mechanisms of Toxicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(11), 6348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23116348 - 06 Jun 2022
Cited by 79 | Viewed by 8107
Abstract
Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is the main representative of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and has been repeatedly found in the air, surface water, soil, and sediments. It is present in cigarette smoke as well as in food products, especially when smoked [...] Read more.
Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is the main representative of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and has been repeatedly found in the air, surface water, soil, and sediments. It is present in cigarette smoke as well as in food products, especially when smoked and grilled. Human exposure to B[a]P is therefore common. Research shows growing evidence concerning toxic effects induced by this substance. This xenobiotic is metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP P450) to carcinogenic metabolite: 7β,8α-dihydroxy-9α,10α-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo[a]pyrene (BPDE), which creates DNA adducts, causing mutations and malignant transformations. Moreover, B[a]P is epigenotoxic, neurotoxic, and teratogenic, and exhibits pro-oxidative potential and causes impairment of animals’ fertility. CYP P450 is strongly involved in B[a]P metabolism, and it is simultaneously expressed as a result of the association of B[a]P with aromatic hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), playing an essential role in the cancerogenic potential of various xenobiotics. In turn, polymorphism of CYP P450 genes determines the sensitivity of the organism to B[a]P. It was also observed that B[a]P facilitates the multiplication of viruses, which may be an additional problem with the widespread COVID-19 pandemic. Based on publications mainly from 2017 to 2022, this paper presents the occurrence of B[a]P in various environmental compartments and human surroundings, shows the exposure of humans to this substance, and describes the mechanisms of its toxicity. Full article
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