Immunological parameters, host resistance, and thyroid hormones were evaluated in F1 mice exposed in utero to jet propulsion fuel-8 (JP-8). C57BL/6 pregnant dams (mated with C3H/HeJ males) were gavaged daily on gestation days 6-15 with JP-8 in a vehicle of olive oil at 0, 1000, or 2000 mg/kg. At weaning (3 weeks of age), no significant differences were observed in body, liver, spleen, or thymus weight, splenic and thymic cellularity, splenic CD4/CD8 lymphocyte subpopulations, or T-cell proliferation. Yet, lymphocytic proliferative responses to B-cell mitogens were suppressed in the 2000 mg/kg treatment group. In addition, thymic CD4-/CD8+ cells were significantly increased. By adulthood (8 weeks of age), lymphocyte proliferative responses and the alteration in thymic CD4-/CD8+ cells had returned to normal. However, splenic weight and thymic cellularity were altered, and the IgM plaque forming cell response was suppressed by 46% and 81% in the 1000 and 2000 mg/kg treatment groups, respectively. Furthermore, a 38% decrease was detected in the total T4 serum hormone level at 2000 mg/kg. In F1 adults, no significant alterations were observed in natural killer cell activity, T-cell lymphocyte proliferation, bone marrow cellularity and proliferative responses, complete blood counts, peritoneal and splenic cellularity, liver, kidney, or thymus weight, macrophage phagocytosis or nitric oxide production, splenic CD4/CD8 lymphocyte subpopulations, or total T3 serum hormone levels. Host resistance models in treated F1 adults demonstrated that immunological responses were normal after challenge with Listeria monocytogenes, but heightened susceptibility to B16F10 tumor challenge was seen at both treatment levels. This study demonstrates that prenatal exposure to JP-8 can target the developing murine fetus and result in impaired immune function and altered T4 levels in adulthood.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, OD/AIG, MS-L1119, 1095 Willowdale Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505