Hardwood smoke alters murine splenic T cell responses to mitogens following a 6-month whole body inhalation exposure.
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The purpose of these studies was to assess the effects of hardwood smoke (HWS) inhalation (30-1000 microg/m3) on the systemic immune responses of A/J mice evaluated after 6 months of daily exposures. Spleen cells obtained from mice were assessed for changes in cell number, cell surface marker expression [B, T, macrophage, and natural killer (NK) cells], and responses to B cell (LPS, endotoxin) and T cell (Con A) mitogens. Results showed that HWS smoke increased T cell proliferation in the 100 microg/m3 exposure group and produced a concentration-dependent suppression of T cell proliferation at concentrations >300 microg/m3. There were no effects on B cell proliferation or in spleen cell surface marker expression. Analyses of the exposure atmospheres revealed the presence of significant levels of naphthalene and methylated napthalenes, fluorene, phenanthrene, and anthracene in the exposure chambers, as well as low concentrations of several metals (K, Ca, and Fe). Our results demonstrate that environmentally relevant concentrations of HWS may be immunosuppressive to the immune system of mice exposed during a 6-month period.