Benzo[a]pyrene-induced alterations in total immune cell number and cell-surface antigen expression in the thymus, spleen and bone marrow of B6C3F1 mice.Vet Hum Toxicol. 1995 Apr; 37(2):99-104.VH
Although considerable evidence suggests that carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are immunosuppressive compounds, limited information is available regarding precise effects of these agents on immune cells. In the present report, the effect of subchronic exposure to benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) on immune cells in bone marrow, thymus and spleen of B6C3F1 mice was investigated. B[a]P treatment was found to reduce thymic cellularity and also to significantly alter normal thymocyte differentiation, as indicated by expression of CD4 and CD8 cell-surface antigens. Exposure to B[a]P also reduced cellularity of the bone marrow, including decreased percentage and absolute number of CD45R+ B-lineage lymphocytes. Further, B[a]P treatment dramatically increased the percentage of CD44hi cells in bone marrow, while proportionately reducing CD44lo cells. These results may indicate CD44lo bone marrow cells, including prolymphocytic cells, represent sensitive targets of B[a]P. The spleens of treated mice were found deficient in both Thy 1.2+ T lymphocytes and CD45R+ B lymphocytes, effects that correlate well with the chemical-induced alterations observed in thymus and bone marrow, respectively.