Immunomodulatory effects of maternal atrazine exposure on male Balb/c mice.
Rowe-AM; Brundage-KM; Schafer-R; Barnett-JB
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2006 Jul; 214(1):69-77
Atrazine is a widely used herbicide applied to corn, sugar and other crops as a broad leaf weed inhibitor. Using the Balb/c mouse model, we have determined that prenatal/lactational exposure to atrazine alters adult immune function. Pregnant Balb/c dams were exposed subcutaneously for 21 days via time release pellets to 700 microg per day of atrazine beginning between days 10 and 12 of pregnancy. Prenatal/Lactational exposure caused no overt physical malformations in the offspring and had no effect on the number of litters carried to term or the litter size. Upon reaching early adulthood (approximately 3 months of age), the state of their immune system was evaluated. There were no changes in body weight or in the organ to body weight ratio of the spleen. Additionally, no changes were observed in the number of CD8+ T cell, CD4+ T cell, or B220+ B cell subpopulations in the spleen. T cell function was assessed by measuring proliferation and cytolytic activity after in vitro allogeneic stimulation. Male mice which had been prenatally/lactationally exposed to atrazine had an increase in both T cell proliferation and cytolytic activity. The humoral immune response was assessed after immunization with heat killed Streptococcus pneumoniae (HKSP). There was a significant increase in the number of HKSP-specific IgM secreting B cells in the spleen of prenatal/lactational exposed male mice. Inasmuch as atrazine is a widespread environmental contaminant, this immunopotentiation raises concerns that it may potentiate clinical diseases, such as autoimmune disease and hypersensitivity, and needs to be carefully monitored and studied.
Laboratory-animals; Animals; Animal-studies; Herbicides; Agriculture; Agricultural-chemicals; Exposure-levels; Exposure-chambers; Immunotoxins; Cell-cultures; Immunology; Prenatal-exposure
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Robert C. Byrd 2095 Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology
West Virginia University