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Neurotoxic effects of small plastic particles

Humans are exposed to different micro- and nanoplastics on a daily basis via the food chain, (drinking) water and consumer products. Yet, it is unclear if exposure to these plastic particles has any adverse effects on human health. Despite its protection by the blood-brain-barrier, the brain is known to be vulnerable to metal nanoparticles. This project will therefore investigate if and to what extent small plastic particles can also reach the brain using a human in vitro cell model for the blood-brain-barrier. Additionally, this project will investigate if plastic particles have any adverse effects on brain function and brain development in vitro. This project relies on differently sized plastic reference particles as well as mixtures of environmentally relevant plastic particles with diverse chemical composition. As such, this project will identify the potential of plastic particles to induce neurotoxicity in relation to size, chemical composition and ability to reach the brain.