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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1989 Dec;101(3):470-80.

Selective inhibition of polymorphonuclear neutrophil activity by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin.

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Systemic Toxicology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/NIH Research, Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.


Although the environmental contaminant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), via its interaction with the Ah receptor, is an extremely potent carcinogen and immunosuppressive agent in experimental animals, its possible actions on polymorphonuclear (PMN) function have not been determined. In addition to their importance against infectious organisms, PMNs have been implicated in antitumor resistance. The present studies examined the effects of in vivo exposure to TCDD on PMN function in B6C3F1 (TCDD sensitive, presence of high affinity Ah receptor) and DBA/2N (TCDD resistant at low doses, defective Ah receptor) mice. Animals received a single oral exposure of 5 or 10 micrograms/kg of TCDD and PMNs were obtained 5 days later from the peritoneal cavity following elicitation with sodium caseinate. TCDD reduced the cytolytic and cytostatic activity of PMA-activated PMNs in B6C3F1, but not in DBA/2N mice, suggesting that this response segregates with the Ah locus. Furthermore, TCDD was found to bind specifically to PMNs from Ah-responsive mice. Neither the production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide nor degranulation, the latter measured by beta-glucuronidase release, was impaired. Supernatants recovered from PMN cell cultures of TCDD-sensitive mice, but not from resistant DBA/2N mice, showed reduced killing capacity for actinomycin D-treated L929 tumor cells, while their ability to bind to tumor cells was not altered. These data suggest that TCDD interferes with PMN-mediated tumor cell killing by altering the production or secretion of a cytolytic factor. Examination of bone marrow stem cells revealed that granulocytic but not monocytic colonies were reduced after TCDD exposure in vivo and in vitro. Although mature PMNs had detectable levels of Ah receptor, exposure in vitro of these cells to TCDD had no effect on antitumor activity. Thus, it is possible that TCDD may affect PMNs at the level of hematopoiesis, via a direct interaction with granulocyte precursor cells, or modulate PMNs at different stages of maturation.

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