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PCBs Alter Dopamine Mediated Function in Aging Workers

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Annual rept.

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The major hypotheses to be tested in this project are that high-level occupational exposure of former capacitor workers to polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs will result in reductions in i performance on neuropsychological and neurological tests that reflect the historic PCB body burden of the individual and ii the number of dopamine DA terminals in the basal ganglia. Aging former capacitor workers, previously employed at capacitor manufacturing facilities located approximately fifty miles north of Albany, NY, have undergone neuropsychological and neurological exams, completed a comprehensive occupational, residential and dietary questionnaire, had blood drawn to measure serum thyroid hormone and PCB concentrations, and undergone a non-invasive test to determine bone lead concentrations in Albany, NY. This latter measure will reduce the likelihood of confounding the neurological effects of prior PCB exposure with the neurological effects of prior lead exposure. Finally, approximately 40 of the subjects have participated in a second portion of the study that uses brain -CIT SPECT imaging to determine whether prior occupational exposure to PCBs reduces the number of basal ganglia DA terminals. Imaging took place at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders in New Haven, CT under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth Marek. In order to test the above hypotheses we have gathered a team of internationally recognized experts in the epidemiology of environmental and occupational exposure to PCBs, the neurology of movement disorders and Parkinsons Disease, the assessment of toxicantinduced deficits in neuropsychological function, measurement of serum PCB concentrations, non-invasive determination of bone lead concentrations, and brain imaging of central DA neurons and their relationship to movement disorders, including Parkinsons Disease.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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