Microplastics vs. Human Brain – Research Reveals the Potential Impact on Brain Cells

Microplastics vs. Human Brain – Research Reveals the Potential Impact on Brain Cells

Every day, we have completely encircled ourselves with plastics; we eat from them, drink out of them, commute with them, and the list could go on and on and on forever. Microplastics have been found in human blood, and there is increasing evidence that shows they may be able to breach the mammalian brain-blood barrier. That represents a terrible turn of events. Microplastics undergo morphological and structural transformations after being subjected to environmental factors such as rain, wind, and sunshine before being reabsorbed by living organisms. Even before we are born, we are exposed to a cloud of dust that contains fragments of deteriorated plastic.

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The implications of microplastics’ harmfulness are particularly alarming, as secondary microplastics exposed in natural environments induce a more severe inflammatory response in the brain, explained Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) biologist Sung-Kyun Choi.

Hee-Yeon Kim, a biologist at DGIST, together with colleagues, examined in great detail how the immune cells in our brains, known as microglia, react to worn polystyrene-derived microplastics in comparison to ‘fresh’ microplastics of comparable size. What they discovered is really fascinating, to say the least.

Research insights and findings

It was discovered by the researchers that deteriorated microplastics had an effect on proteins that were involved in converting carbohydrates into energy and that these microplastics increased the expression of these proteins up to 10 to 15 times higher in microglial cells than in cells that belonged to control groups. Microglia, which make up approximately 10–15 percent of brain cells, are responsible for scouring our central nervous system in seeking foreign substances that have no business being there.

In addition to this, the amounts of proteins that are implicated in the death of brain cells were elevated by an amount of 5. If the findings of more and more studies are to be believed, then the manner in which we manufacture, utilize, and discard plastics must get a great deal more attention.

The findings have only been seen so far in living mice and in human tissue samples that were studied in a laboratory setting; nonetheless, the simple fact that these chemicals are capable of producing such significant alterations once they have reached brain tissue provides strong evidence that they do influence the health of our brains.


Writing was, and still is, my first passion. I love games, mobile gadgets, and all that cool stuff about technology and science. I’ll try my best to bring you the best news every day.

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