Altered immune response in adult women exposed in utero to DES

DES Daughters have alterations in T-cell-mediated immunity

2001 Study Abstract

OBJECTIVE
Between 1940 and 1970, 1.5 million female fetuses were exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero. Numerous deleterious effects on reproductive anatomic and physiologic characteristics have been documented in these women. However, the effects of this exposure on nonreproductive systems, which may have lifelong consequences as this cohort of women progresses beyond the childbearing years, have received little attention. On the basis of an earlier preliminary observation of altered immune reponse, we hypothesized that diethylstilbestrol-exposed women may show abnormalities in T-cell-mediated immune response.

STUDY DESIGN
Thirteen women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero were compared with 13 age- and menstrual cycle phase-matched control subjects with respect to the in vitro T-cell response to the mitogens phytohemagglutinin, concanavalin A, and interleukin 2.

RESULTS
As compared with controls, tritiated thymidine incorporation by T cells harvested from diethylstilbestrol-exposed women was increased 3-fold over a range of concentrations in response to concanavalin A (P <.001), increased by 50% over a range of concentrations in response to phytohemagglutinin (P <.001), and increased 2-fold in response to the endogenous mitogen interleukin 2 (P <.05).

CONCLUSIONS
In vitro evidence suggests that women exposed to diethylstilbestrol have alterations in T-cell-mediated immunity. These changes require further attention with regard to their characterization, their role in the pathogenesis of cancer and autoimmunity, and their presence in normal women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero.

Sources and more information
  • Altered immune response in adult women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero, American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, NCBI PubMed PMID: 11483908, 2001 Jul.
  • Study of Human Immune Response featured image credit niaid.
DES DIETHYLSTILBESTROL RESOURCES

Have your say ! Share your views

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.