Former Binational Center Trainee Publishes Research in Toxicology in Vitro

June 11, 2009

Former U.S.-Mexico Binational Center fellow, Jorge Alejandro Alegria Torres, is the lead author of a publication featured in Toxicology in Vitro titled, “Mechanisms of p,p'-DDE-induced apoptosis in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.”  The publication was co-authored by Fernando Diaz-Barriga (Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi and U.S.-Mexico Binational Center), A. Jay Gandolfi (UA SRP and U.S.-Mexico Binational Center), and Ivan N. Perez Maldonado (Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi).  This investigation adds to the body of knowledge concerning organochlorine pesticides, which have been used world-wide and are persistent in soil, fish, sediments, and humans.

The article discusses the team’s research to clarify the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of apoptosis by p,p'-DDE (most stable metabolite of DDT).   Materials and methods are described regarding cell culture, p,p'-DDE exposure, cell viability, RNA isolation, cDNA synthesis, real-time quantitative, protein extraction, western blot, and statistical analysis.  Results from the study suggest that when peripheral mononuclear blood cells are exposed to low p,p'-DDE concentrations an antioxidant and inflammation biomarkers results.  When treated with high p,p'-DDE concentrations apoptotic biochemical events are activated.  It is concluded that a pro-inflammatory and antioxidant response could potentially trigger apoptosis signaling via pathways not yet identified.

Alegria Torres was part of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Center trainee program where he received a fellowship through the USAID TIES program.  In 2006, Alegria Torres worked in Dr. Gandolfi’s laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona.  His work focused on biochemical indicators of apoptosis initiated by DDE exposure.   He is currently working on completing his doctoral degree in environmental toxicology at the Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi (mentor Dr. Fernando Diaz-Barriga). 

Alegria-Torres J.A., Diaz-Barriga F., Gandolfi A.J., Perez-Maldonado I.N. Mechanisms of p,p'-DDE-induced apoptosis in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.  Toxicol. In Vitro (2009), doi:10.1016/j.tiv.2009.06.021