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Hum Exp Toxicol. 1999 Oct;18(10):619-24.

Organotin compounds decrease in vitro survival, proliferation and differentiation of normal human B lymphocytes.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Organotin compounds (OTC) are organometallic compounds with vast industrial and agriculture applications that give rise to ubiquitous environmental contamination. OTC are immunotoxic, but most studies have been performed in rodents and almost exclusively focused on T cell immunity. Humans can be exposed to OTC by inhalation, absorption, and consumption of contaminated food and water. To analyse the effects of OTC in human immune tissue, we isolated B cells from tonsils and exposed them to five OTC at various concentrations, during in vitro culture. Non-stimulated B cells were killed by 100 nM of all tested OTC after 8 h in vitro culture, under sub-optimal conditions, except TET. OTC also decreased the proliferation of tonsillar B lymphocytes stimulated with Staphylococcus aureus Cowan 1 (SAC) and IL-2, when present at 100 nM and higher concentrations. IgM secretion was reduced in stimulated cell cultures exposed to 100 nM dibutyltin chloride (DBT). Accordingly, increased phosphatidylserine exposure demonstrated that 100 nM TPT and DBT induced B cells to die by apoptosis. These data indicate that human B cells are diminished in their capacity to survive, proliferate and differentiate in the presence of OTC in vitro.

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