Dimethyl carbonate (DMC) is an industrial chemical, used as a paint and adhesive solvent, with the potential for significant increases in production. Using select immune function assays, the purpose of these studies was to evaluate the immunotoxicity of DMC following dermal exposure using a murine model. Following a 28-day exposure, DMC produced a significant decrease in thymus weight at concentrations of 75% and greater. No effects on body weight, hematological parameters (erythrocytes, leukocytes, and their differentials), or immune cell phenotyping (B-cells, T-cells, and T-cell sub-sets) were identified. The IgM antibody response to sheep red blood cell (SRBC) was significantly reduced in the spleen but not the serum. DMC was not identified to be an irritant and evaluation of the sensitization potential, conducted using the local lymph node assay (LLNA) at concentrations ranging from 50-100%, did not identify increases in lymphocyte proliferation. These results demonstrate that dermal exposure to DMC induces immune suppression in a murine model and raise concern about potential human exposure and the need for occupational exposure regulations.
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