Evaluating Immunotoxicity of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

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Virginia Tech

Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride (ADBAC) and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC) are common quaternary ammonium compounds used as disinfectants in households, medical, and restaurant settings. They cause occupational skin and respiratory hazards in humans, and developmental and reproductive toxicity in mice. They also cause increased secretions of proinflammatory cytokines in cell lines and vaginal inflammation in porcine models; but have not been evaluated for developmental immunotoxicity. We assessed immunotoxicity in-vitro with J774A.1 murine macrophage cell line by analyzing cytokine production and phagocytosis; and evaluated developmental immunotoxicity in CD-1 mice by analyzing antibody production. Additionally, because of the associations between gut microbiome dysbiosis and immune disease, we monitored changes in the microbiome as a result of ADBAC+DDAC exposure. Production of cytokines TNF-alpha and IL-6 increased at low ADBAC+DDAC concentrations, and IL-10 decreased in the murine macrophages with ADBAC+DDAC exposure. The phagocytic function of macrophages was also severely decreased. ADBAC+DDAC altered the mouse microbiome by decreasing the relative abundance of Bacteroides and increases in Clostridia in F0 and F1 generations. IgG primary and secondary responses were altered in F1 male mice; and IgA and IgM production were decreased in secondary response in F2 male mice. Since ADBAC+DDAC show signs of immunotoxicity in mice, further studies are needed to reassess risk for human exposure as ADBAC+DDAC may be contributing to immune disease.

Immunotoxicity, Developmental Immunotoxicity, ADBAC, DDAC, Microbiome