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The humoral immune response of mice exposed to simulated road paving-like asphalt fumes.

Anderson SE; Munson AE; Tomblyn S; Meade BJ; Diotte NM
J Immunotoxicol 2008 Sep; 5(3):307-313
Asphalt is a complex mixture of organic molecules, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which have been reported to cause serious adverse health effects in humans. Workers in manufacturing and construction trades exposed to asphalt are potentially at risk for being exposed to asphalt fumes and PAHs. Epidemiological investigations have collected mounting evidence that chemicals found in asphalt fumes present carcinogenic and possibly immunotoxic hazards. Studies evaluating the immunotoxic effects of asphalt fume are limited due to the large number of variables associated with asphalt fume exposures. This work investigates the immuno-toxic effects of road paving-like asphalt fume by analyzing the in vivo IgM response to a T-dependent antigen after exposure to whole, vapor, and particulate phase road paving-like asphalt fumes and asphalt fume condensate. Systemic exposures via intraperitoneal injection of asphalt fume condensate (at 0.625 mg/kg) and the particulate phase (at 5 mg/kg) resulted in significant reductions in the specific spleen IgM response to SRBC. Pharyngeal aspiration of the asphalt fume condensate (at 5 mg/kg) also resulted in significant suppression of the IgM response to SRBC. A significant reduction in the specific spleen IgM activity was observed after inhalation exposure to whole asphalt fumes (35 mg/m(3)) and the vapor components (11 mg/m(3)). Dermal exposures to the asphalt fume condensate resulted in significant reductions in the total (at 50 mg/kg) and specific (at 250 mg/kg) spleen IgM response to SRBC. These results demonstrate that exposure to road paving-like asphalt fumes is immunosuppressive through systemic, respiratory, and dermal routes of exposure in a murine model and raise concerns regarding the potential for adverse immunological effects.
Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Fumes; Immune-system-disorders; Lung-cells; Lung-disorders; Lung-irritants; Immunologic-disorders; Skin-sensitivity; Skin-absorption; Mathematical-models; Models; Statistical-analysis; Laboratory-animals; Vapors; Pulmonary-disorders; Asphalt-fumes; Road-surfacing; Hydrocarbons; Smelting; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Particle-aerodynamics; Author Keywords: Paving asphalt; asphalt fumes; immunotoxicity; PFC assay; SRBC
Stacey E. Anderson, NIOSH, 1095 Willowdale Drive, Morgantown, WV 26505
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
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Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Work Environment and Workforce: Mixed Exposures
Source Name
Journal of Immunotoxicology
Page last reviewed: August 19, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division