Immunomodulation in progeny from thymectomized primiparous mice exposed to benzo(a)pyrene during mid-pregnancy.Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 2001; 23(2):267-80II
Previous studies have shown that Benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P3) given to non-thymectomized (NTX) female mice alters expression of T cell subsets and suppresses cell mediated immunity (CMI) and humoral immunity (HI) in the progeny. Thus, maternal exposure to B(a)P may influence changes in progeny immune status. To understand how maternal cellular and humoral factors influence embryonic development of progeny immunity, adult female mice were thymectomized (TX) at 6 weeks, mated and injected with 150 microg B(a)P)/g body weight at 12 days of pregnancy. After B(a)P exposure, the following studies were performed: (A) Maternal reproductive capacity and survival rate of progeny; (B) Detection of T cells in progeny thymus; (C) Functional characteristics of progeny thymus or spleen. Maternal thymectomy and B(a)P exposure reduced average litter size by 40%. Serological sensitivity of thymus cells with anti-Thyl + complement occurred at a higher dilution of mAb in progeny from TX mothers exposed to B(a)P, suggesting that B(a)P-thymectomy led to increased sensitivity of developing thymocytes to mAb plus complement. Progeny from TX mothers exposed to B(a)P showed enhanced thymic CMI, but suppressed splenic CMI and HI. Thus, thymectomy prevents CMI immunosuppression by B(a)P, while HI is still suppressed. These results indicate that the maternal thymus is necessary for incurring the effect of B(a)P on progeny CMI.