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Researchers from Sweden's Linköping University used a way to identify the proteins in the body that are impacted by toxins.
FREMONT, CA: Pollutants are present in the water we drink, the food we eat, and the environment around us. In manufacturing, agriculture, industry, and consumer goods, over 100,000 chemicals are used. Every day, they come into contact with chemicals that can be absorbed by our bodies. Some of them can be hazardous to our health. Furthermore, when some chemicals are combined with others, they become more dangerous than when they are alone, a phenomenon known as the cocktail effect. Predicting the effects of exposure to mixes of many distinct chemicals has been one of the most difficult tasks in toxicology in recent decades. Pollutant levels are constantly rising, and it is extremely difficult to test the impacts of these chemicals.
Veronica Lizano-Fallas, PhD student at Linköping University's Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences (BKV) says testing combinations of compounds is especially complex and she believes that their technique will result in a more efficient use of time and money than traditional methods, which examine the impact on one biological process at a time.
The researchers emphasize that the technology, which they describe in an article published in the Journal of Proteomics, can be used to detect unwanted biological effects of chemicals at an early stage. Other methods can then be used to investigate these effects in greater depth. Susana Cristobal, professor at BKV and study leader, states that chemicals interact with proteins in a rather promiscuous manner, and they frequently discover that the compounds they test affect many proteins. The study also sees that protein interactions with chemicals impact their functioning, which is consistent with the effects of pollutants and toxic compounds in the cell.