Cytochrome P450 1B1 is required for 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)-anthracene (DMBA) induced spleen cell immunotoxicity. Academic Article uri icon


  • 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) is a potent carcinogen that induces immunosuppression of both humoral and cell-mediated immunity in mice and other species. Previous studies have shown that CYP1B1 is required for bone marrow toxicity produced by DMBA in mice. Therefore, the purpose of these studies was to determine whether CYP1B1 was required for spleen cell immunotoxicity. Female C57BL/6N wild-type (WT) and CYP1B1 knockout (-/-) mice were treated with 0, 17, 50, or 150 mg/kg (cumulative dose) DMBA in corn oil by oral gavage once a day for five days. Several immunotoxicological assays were used to assess the effects of DMBA on systemic immunity. These included the in vitro T-dependent antibody response to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) measured using a direct plaque forming cell (PFC) assay, T- and B-cell mitogenesis induced by Con A and LPS, and nonspecific cell-mediated immunity was evaluated using an NK cytotoxicity assay. In addition, lymphocyte subpopulations were measured by flow cytometry using specific cell surface markers. Following five days of DMBA treatment, the body weights and spleen cell surface markers of the WT and CYP1B1 (-/-) mice showed no significant changes. A decrease in NK activity was found at the 50 mg/kg DMBA dose in WT mice, but not in the CYP1B1 (-/-) mice. Interestingly, at the 150 mg/kg dose of DMBA, CYP1B1 null mice had decreased NK activity, whereas WT mice did not. The SRBC PFC response demonstrated that the IgM antibody response was suppressed by DMBA in WT mice in a dose-dependent manner (significant at 50 and 150 mg/kg). However, there were no changes in the SRBC PFC responses in any DMBA test group in the CYP1B1 (-/-) mice. Similarly, while DMBA suppressed B- and T-cell mitogenesis at the 50 and 150 mg/kg dose levels in C57BL/6N WT mice, no effect was seen in CYP1B1 (-/-) mice. Thus, CYP1B1 appears to be critical for the immunosuppression of DMBA in mice, suggesting a role for bioreactive metabolites in the spleen cell immunotoxicity produced by DMBA.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005