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Toxicol Sci. 1998 Nov;46(1):75-82.

Evaluation of the primary humoral immune response following exposure of male rats to 17beta-estradiol or flutamide for 15 days.

Author information

1
DuPont Haskell Laboratory for Toxicology and Industrial Medicine, Newark, Delaware 19714, USA.

Abstract

There is a concern that certain industrial chemicals found in the environment may mimic or antagonize endogenous hormones and adversely affect the endocrine as well as the immune system. The objective of this study was to determine if exposure of Crl:CD (SD)BR male rats to 17beta-estradiol (17beta-E2), an estrogen receptor agonist, or flutamide (FLUT), an androgen receptor antagonist, would significantly alter the primary IgM humoral immune response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC). This study was conducted in the context of a male in vivo Tier I battery designed to identify endocrine-active compounds (EACs). The Tier I male battery consists of organ weights coupled with a comprehensive hormonal assessment. Rats were dosed by the intraperitoneal route for 15 days with vehicle or 0.001, 0.0025, 0.0075, or 0.050 mg/kg/day 17beta-E2 or 0.25, 1, 5, or 20 mg/kg/day FLUT. Six days prior to termination, selected rats were injected intravenously with SRBC for assessment of humoral immune function. Spleen cell number and spleen and thymus weights were obtained. Serum was analyzed for anti-SRBC IgM antibody by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. At 0.050 mg/kg/day 17beta-E2, mean final body and absolute thymus weights were significantly decreased to 84 and 65% of control, respectively. 17beta-E2 did not significantly alter spleen weight, spleen cell number, or the primary IgM humoral immune response to SRBC. The no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) for immune system alteration was 0.050 mg/kg/day 17beta-E2 since the decrease in absolute thymus weight was judged to be secondary to the decrements in body weight. In the Tier I male battery, responses to 17beta-E2 included decreased absolute testis and epididymis weights, decreased relative accessory sex gland unit weights, hormonal alterations (decreased serum testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and luteinizing hormone (LH), and increased serum prolactin and E2 levels). The lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL) for the reproductive indices was 0.001 mg/kg/day 17beta-E2 based on the hormonal alterations seen at this level; no NOAEL was established. Exposure to FLUT did not significantly alter mean final body, spleen, or absolute thymus weights, spleen cell number, or the primary IgM humoral immune response to SRBC. A significant increase (118% of control) in relative thymus weight was observed at 20 mg/kg/day FLUT. The NOAEL for immune system alteration was 5 mg/kg/day FLUT based on the increased relative thymus weights that were judged to be compound-related. In the Tier I male battery, responses to FLUT included decreased absolute epididymis and relative accessory sex gland unit weights and hormonal alterations (increased serum T, DHT, E2, and LH, and decreased follicle stimulating hormone levels). The LOAEL for the reproductive indices was 0.25 mg/kg/day FLUT based on the hormonal alterations seen at this level; no NOAEL was established. Based on these data, the reproductive and not the immune system appears to be the primary target organ of toxicity in young adult male rats treated with either 17beta-E2 or FLUT.

PMID:
9928670
DOI:
10.1006/toxs.1998.2554
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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