Bacterial and parasite susceptibility following DES exposure

Application of tumor, bacterial and parasite susceptibility assays to study immune alterations induced by environmental chemicals

1982 Study Abstract

Model systems to study the effects of chemicals of environmental concern on bacterial and parasitic diseases as well as the immunosurveillance and destruction of transplantable tumor cells were described and evaluated.

Studies were conducted in female B6C3F1 mice following adult or pre/postnatal exposure to several prototype chemicals. The prototype chemicals employed included the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES), the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon benzo(a)pyrene (B[a]P), and the carcinogenesis promoting agent 12-0-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-0-acetate (TPA).

The host resistance models employed depend primarily on functional thymus-dependent immunity, although humoral immunity is suggested to have a role in the parasite model as well. These models include: subcutaneous challenge with a dose of PYB6 tumor cell causing a 10-20% incidence (TD(10-20)) of tumor; intravenous challenge with B16 melanoma cells; challenge with a dose of Listeria monocytogenes causing a 10-20% incidence of mortality (LD(10-20)); challenge with a dose of E. coli lipopolysaccharide endotoxin causing a 10-20% incidence of lethality (LD(10-20)); and challenge with larvae of Trichinella spiralis for parasite expulsion kinetic studies.

Increased mortality was observed following Listeria monocytogenes challenge in DES-exposed mice. B(a)P and TPA exposure did not alter host resistance to this organism. The increased mortality observed following DES was associated with a significant increase in the number of viable Listeria in the spleens and livers at 4 days, a time when T-cell immunity is thought to be expressed, but bacterial counts were similar to control mice at day 1, a time when MPhi are thought to exert their greatest effect. These data suggest that the increased Listeria susceptibility found following DES exposure may result from a T-cell defect, although the intracellular killing capacity of DES-treated Mvarphi’s has not been well examined.

Tumor susceptibility studies following challenge with 5 x 10(3) viable syngeneic PYB6 tumor cells revealed that nontreated adult B6C3F1 mice resisted tumor formation, with only a 10-20% incidence of tumor formation. In contrast, mice exposed to DES or TPA as adults had a tumor frequency of from 70-100% following TPA and up to 90% following DES exposure. In all cases the tumors were progressive and resulted in death. B(a)P did not alter the frequency of tumor incidence from controls in this model. Preliminary data, using the B16 melanoma intravenous challenge model and (125)IUdR to quantitate tumor mass revealed this model was sensitive to non-specifically activated macrophage kill. DES treated mice with activated macrophages did not demonstrate increased tumor mass, while mice exposed to TPA or the potent immunosuppressive agent cyclophosphamide had a significantly increased tumor mass in their lungs. Expulsion of Trichinella spiralis adults from the gut also apparently required functional T-cells and possibly some element of humoral immunity. Mice exposed to DES and B(a)P exhibited increased numbers of adult worms in the gut at day 14. Sensitivity to gram-negative endotoxin (LPS) was apparently increased following exposure to DES or B(a)P.

These data suggest that the detoxification of LPS is related to an intact Mvarphi population. The data presented here demonstrate the sensitivity of the host resistance assay panel proposed for detecting immune alteration. Alteration of T-cell function appeared to correlate with increased susceptibility to bacterial and tumor cell challenge.

Sources and more information
  • Application of tumor, bacterial and parasite susceptibility assays to study immune alterations induced by environmental chemicals, Environmental health perspectives, NCBI PubMed PMID: 7060548, 1982 Feb.
  • Full study (free access) Bacterial attack featured image credit general bacteriology.

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