Effects of Short-Term Exposure to Octylphenol and Genistein on the Immune System of C57BL/6 and (NZBxNZW)F1 Mice


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Virginia Tech


Octylphenol and genistein are two of the growing list of endocrine disrupting chemicals found in the environment that mimic estrogen in reproductive tissue both in vitro and in vivo. It is well established that endogenous estrogens modulate not only the reproductive system, but also the immune system. However, the effects of many endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as octylphenol and genistein, on the immune system have yet to be determined. Preliminary studies on short-term treatment with genistein (0.6 mg) and octylphenol (10 mg) showed that the thymus of orchiectomized (NZBxNZW)F1 males is sensitive to these agents. Further studies focused on the effects of short-term treatment of octylphenol on the morphology and function of the thymus in adult, reproductively intact non-autoimmune C57BL/6 and pre-autoimmune (NZBxNZW)F1 males. Oral dosing of 0.1 mg, 1 mg, or 10 mg of octylphenol 3 times a week for 3 weeks did not affect the morphology or function of the thymus as assessed by its weight, thymocyte cellularity, proportion of immature and mature thymocytes, level of apoptosis, apoptotic rates of stimulated thymocytes, and proportion of mature T cells in the spleen. Furthermore, oral dosing of 0.1 mg, 1 mg, or 10 mg of octylphenol did not result in estrogenic changes in the reproductive tract in our model. Subcutaneous injection of 10 mg of octylphenol resulted in skin lesions that confounded the assessment of its affects on the thymus. Further studies are needed to definitively determine the effects of octylphenol on the immune system of both males and females of various ages and to determine the effect of long-term exposure.



Endocrine Disrupting Chemical, Immune System, Octylphenol, Thymus, Genistein