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The potential adverse effects of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether (PBDE-47) on neurons are extensively studied, and mitochondria are identified as critical targets. This study aimed to investigate whether PBDE-47 impairs mitochondrial biogenesis via the miR-128-3p/PGC-1α axis to trigger mitochondrial dysfunction-related neuronal damage. In vitro neuroendocrine pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells and in vivo Sprague Dawley rat model were adopted. In this study, biochemical methods were used to examine mitochondrial ATP content, cell viability, and expressions of key mitochondrial biogenesis regulators, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α), nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1), and mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM). Mimics and inhibitors of miR-128-3p were employed to explore its role in PBDE-47-induced neurotoxicity. Both in vivo and in vitro evidences suggested that PBDE-47 suppressed PGC-1α/NRF1/TFAM signaling pathways and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encoding proteins synthesis. PBDE-47 also suppressed the relative mtDNA content, mRNA levels of mtDNA-encoded subunits, and mitochondrial ATP levels in vitro. Specifically, 2-(4-tert-butylphenyl) benzimidazole (ZLN005) alleviated PBDE-47-induced neuronal death through the improvement of mitochondrial function by activating PGC-1α/NRF1/TFAM signaling pathways. Mechanistically, PBDE-47 dramatically upregulated miR-128-3p expression. Furthermore, miR-128-3p inhibition enhanced PGC-1α/NRF1/TFAM signaling and abolished PBDE-47-induced impairment of mitochondrial biogenesis. In summary, this study provides in vitro evidence to reveal the role of mitochondrial biogenesis in PBDE-47-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and related neurotoxicity and suggests that miR-128-3p/PGC-1α axis may be a therapeutic target for PBDE-47 neurotoxicity. © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Toxicology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


Zhiyuan Tian, Jing Li, Li Song, Li Xie, Dongjie Li, Tao Xia, Aiguo Wang. PBDE-47 induces impairment of mitochondrial biogenesis and subsequent neurotoxicity through miR-128-3p/PGC-1α axis. Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology. 2023 Jan 31;191(1):123-134

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PMID: 36269211

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