Neutrophil function after exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls in vitro

P. E. Ganey, J. E. Sirois, M. Denison, J. P. Robinson, R. A. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are known to be immunotoxic, yet the effects on neutrophil (PMN) function are not well characterized. We incubated PMNs isolated from rat peritoneum with a mixture of PCB congeners, Aroclor 1242, in the absence or presence of either phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) to stimulate generation of superoxide anion (O2 -) or N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP) to induce degranulation (measured as release of β-glu-curonidase). Aroclor 1242 alone stimulated O2 - production at a concentration of 10 μg/ml. Significant cytotoxcicity was not observed under these conditions. This concentration of Aroclor 1242 also increased O2 - generation in PMNs activated with 20ng PMA/ml. In the presence of a concentration of PMA (2ng/ml) that by itself did not stimulate production of O2 -, 1 μg Aroclor 1242/ml caused significant generation of O2 -, indicating synergy between Aroclor 1242 and PMA. Aroclor 1242 caused release of β-glucuronidase from quiescent PMNs; however, in PMNs stimulated with fMLP to undergo degranulation, Aroclor 1242 inhibited release of β-glucuronidase. The effects of two PCB congeners, one that binds to the Ah receptor (3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl) and one that has little affinity for this receptor (2,2',4,4'-tetracklorobiphenyl) were examined. 3,3',4,4'-Tetrachlorobiphenyl had no effect on PMN function in vitro,. whereas 2,2',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl had effects similar to those observed with Aroclor 1242. These results indicate that PCBs affect PMN function in vitro in a complex manner, stimulating or inhibiting function under different conditions. These effects are apparently not mediated through the Ah recepter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Ah receptor
  • Degranulation
  • Neutrophils
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Superoxide anion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Neutrophil function after exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls in vitro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this