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Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2005 Nov;20(3):395-403. doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2005.03.012. Epub 2005 Jun 22.

Dibutyltin exposure decreases granzyme B and perforin in human natural killer cells.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN 37209, USA.


Natural killer (NK) cells are a subset of lymphocytes that are capable of killing tumor and virally-infected cells. Dibutyltin (DBT) is a catalyst in the production of PVC plastics and a breakdown product of tributyltin (TBT). DBT is a significant environmental contaminant. This study investigates the mechanism by which DBT exposure decreases the immune function of human NK cells. NK cells destroy their target cells by releasing cytotoxic proteins, perforin, and granzyme B. We examined the effect of DBT exposures on the levels of cytotoxic proteins and their mRNAs. Exposure of NK cells to DBT for 1h caused significant decreases in the mRNAs for granzyme B and perforin but not in protein levels. A 24h exposure to DBT decreased mRNAs as well as protein levels for both granzyme B and perforin. Exposure to DBT for 1h followed by either a 24 or 48h period in DBT-free media, decreased levels of granzyme B and perforin. The results indicate that decreases in granzyme B and perforin levels in NK cells are consequences of DBT exposure. Additionally, DBT causes rapid decreases in mRNAs for perforin and granzyme B, suggesting decreases in transcription and/or increases in mRNA degradation.


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