Novel Approach for Detecting the Neurological or Behavioral Impact of Physiological Episodes (PEs) in Military Aircraft Crews.
INTRODUCTION: Military and civil aviation have documented physiological episodes among aircrews. Therefore, continued efforts are being made to improve the internal environment. Studies have shown that exposures to many organic compounds present in emissions are known to cause a variety of physiological symptoms. We hypothesize that these compounds may reversibly inhibit acetylcholinesterase, which may disrupt synaptic signaling. As a result, neural proteins leak through the damaged blood-brain barrier into the blood and in some, elicit an autoimmune response. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Neural-specific autoantibodies of immunoglobulin-G (IgG) class were estimated by the Western blotting technique in the sera of 26 aircrew members and compared with the sera of 19 normal healthy nonaircrew members, used as controls. RESULTS: We found significantly elevated levels of circulating IgG-class autoantibodies to neurofilament triplet proteins, tubulin, microtubule-associated tau proteins (Tau), microtubule-associated protein-2, myelin basic protein, and glial fibrillary acidic protein, but not S100 calcium-binding protein B compared to healthy controls. CONCLUSION: Repetitive physiological episodes may initiate cellular injury, leading to neuronal degeneration in selected individuals. Diagnosis and intervention should occur at early postinjury periods. Use of blood-based biomarkers to assess subclinical brain injury would help in both diagnosis and treatment.
Abou-Donia, MB; Brahmajothi, MV
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