On Science Friday this past week, Holly Ingraham of UCSF was interviewed on her new study of atrazine’s impact on human placental cells. This builds on our conversation with atrazine, starting from March’s discussion on atrazine in frogs. In the study, they showed atrazine (& its metabolized products) increased activity of a gene that results in abnormal baby weight. Also they found amplification of a gene that is highly active in infertile women (no direct association yet).
Science Friday interview with Holly Ingraham
Holly also studied atrazine impacts on zebrafish, a widely used animal in developmental studies. She observed some genetic changes at doses as low as 2 part per billion (EPA’s drinking water limit is 3 ppb). In terms of human effects, she started to see genetic changes at 200 ppb (syngenta called these levels environmentally irrelevant). The chief effect in humans was changing hormone signaling mechanisms, which is fairly significant.
Future studies will focus on how atrazine affects the brain, specifically areas that control metabolism. This will hopefully shed light on why atrazine affects endocrine cells.
A quote from Holly:
These atrazine- sensitive genes are central to normal reproduction and are found in steroid producing tissues. You have to wonder about the long-term effects of exposing the rapidly developing fetus to atrazine or other endocrine disrupters.
Her research was funded by the National Institutes for Health.