The kinetics of cell surface receptor expression in children perinatally exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls

M. Horvthov, E. Jahnov, L. Palkovičov, T. Trnovec, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during pre-natal and early life can alter normal immune system development. Blood specimens from newborns, 6-, and 16-month-old infants were collected in the Michalovce and Svidnik/Stropkov districts, areas with, respectively, high and low environmental PCB contamination, and lymphocyte receptor expression was evaluated by multi-color flow cytometry. The results indicate that the percentage of lymphoid dendritic cells (DC) and nave/resting T-lymphocytes were significantly increased at 6-months in Michalovce as compared to the same cell types in cord blood samples (p<0.001), whereas natural regulatory T-lymphocytes and suppressor inducer T-lymphocytes were reduced (p<0.001). Overall, a positive linear correlation of terminally differentiated effector memory (TEM) T-lymphocyte population with age, but a negative linear correlation for myeloid DC from birth to 6-months in both regions were found. Michalovce samples indicated significantly higher expression of memory T-lymphocytes (birth, 6 th, and 16 th month), TEM T-lymphocytes (birth and 6 th month), and lymphoid DC (6 th month) compared to the Svidnik/Stropkov regions. After adjustment for relevant covariates, such as maternal age, parity, season of birth, breastfeeding, birth weight, and gender, the myeloid DC, suppressor inducer T-lymphocytes, truly nave helper/inducer T-lymphocytes, and TEM T-lymphocytes remained significantly different between districts in cord blood samples. The multivariate analysis models for 6- and 16-month samples showed district differences in all cellular determinants, except for lymphoid DC and macrophage-like cells. This study provides the first evidence that pre-natal and early post-natal exposure to PCBs affects the dynamics of cell surface receptor expression on lymphoid DC and DC-like cells, suggesting impaired immunologic development following pre-natal and early post-natal PCB exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-380
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Immunotoxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Cell surface marker
  • Cord blood
  • Dendritic cells
  • Environmental pollution
  • Infant
  • Macrophage-like cells
  • Memory T-cells
  • Nave T-cells
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Post-natal exposure
  • Pre-natal exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Immunology


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