Author(s): Ilbck NG, Sundberg J, Oskarsson A
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Abstract The effect of methyl mercury (MeHg) exposure (3.9 micrograms/g diet) on the development of immune function was studied in the newborn Sprague-Dawley rat after MeHg exposure via placenta and/or milk. No consistent alterations were observed between control and treated offspring (at the age of 15 days) on the following parameters: body weights, lymphoid organ weights or cell number, and the lymphoproliferative response to B-cell mitogen. The lymphoproliferative response to T-cell mitogen was increased in thymocytes (by 30-48\%), but decreased in splenocytes (by 30-32\%). This decreased activity was only observed in the groups exposed during lactation. White blood cell counts (WBC) were increased in all groups. Natural killer (NK) cell activity was reduced (by 42\%, P less than 0.01) in the group that was exposed both via placenta and milk. These results indicate that placental and lactational transfer of MeHg does adversely affect the developing immune system of the rat.
This article was published in Toxicol Lett
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology