One hundred ninety-two workers in a German pesticide factory who were exposed to polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and -furans (PCDD/PCDF) were investigated for former and present diseases and laboratory changes of the immune system. Moreover, in a subgroup of 29 highly exposed and 28 control persons, proliferation studies were performed. In addition to assays such as blood count, immunoglobulins, serum electrophoresis, monoclonal bands, surface markers, autoantibodies, and lymphocyte proliferation, two new methods, the rise of tetanus antibody concentration after vaccination and the in vitro resistance of lymphocytes to chromate, were used to diagnose the morphologic and functional state of the immune system. There was no stringent correlation of actual PCDD/PCDF concentrations with the occurrence of infections or with one of the immune parameters. In addition, outcomes of the tetanus vaccination and the chromate resistance test were not correlated with PCDD/PCDF. However, the chromate resistance of lymphocytes stimulated by phytohemagglutinin of highly exposed persons was significantly lower than that for the control group. These findings indicate that the function of lymphocytes can be stressed and possibly impaired by high exposure to PCDD/PCDF.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis