Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Immunotoxicol. 2005 Apr 1;2(2):97-106. doi: 10.1080/15476910591006673.

Sodium methyldithiocarbamate causes thymic atrophy by an indirect mechanism of corticosterone up-regulation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.


Sodium methyldithiocarbamate (SMD) is an agricultural fumigant-type pesticide commonly used as a pre-plant biocide. SMD is currently listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the third most commonly used conventional pesticide. Previously, SMD has been shown to be immunotoxic in mice. Initial immunotoxicological studies indicated that thymocytes are major targets of SMD or its breakdown products in mice. The purpose of the present study was to determine if this effect was mediated by an SMD-induced stress response. The decrease in thymus weight correlated to a decrease in all thymocyte subpopulations. However, as seen in earlier studies, the double positive (CD4(+)CD8(+)) thymocyte subpopulation was more selectively decreased than the other subpopulations. The double negative (CD4(-)CD8(-)) and single positive (CD4(+)CD8(-) or CD4(-)CD8(+)) thymocyte subpopulations decreased in absolute numbers while increasing in percentage of the remaining cells in the thymus after SMD intoxication. In the current study, SMD caused an increase in serum corticosterone, a stress-related hormone. Blocking corticosterone either by 1) adrenalectomy or by 2) chemically blocking synthesis of nascent corticosterone in adrenal-competent animals abrogated the thymocyte atrophy caused by SMD. However, an additional stressor (restraint) did not act additively or synergistically to increase atrophy. Therefore, it is likely that SMD causes thymic atrophy by increasing serum corticosterone.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Informa Healthcare
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk