The Effects of Jet Fuel on Immune Cells of Fuel System Maintenance Workers

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Jan;45(1):79-86. doi: 10.1097/00043764-200301000-00016.


Jet fuel is a common occupational exposure among commercial and military maintenance workers. JP-8 jet fuel, a military formulation, has shown immunotoxic effects in mice, but little data exist for humans. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine whether immune cell counts in the peripheral blood were altered among tank entry workers at three Air Force bases. After adjusting for covariates, fuel system maintenance personnel (n = 45) were found to have significantly higher counts of white blood cells (P = 0.01), neutrophils (P = 0.05), and monocytes (P = 0.02) when compared with a low-exposure group (n = 78), but no differences were noted in the numbers of total lymphocytes, T-cells, T-helper cells, T-suppressor cells, natural killer cells, and B-cells. Investigations are needed to evaluate the functional ability of these cells to produce lymphokines and cytokines and modulate the immune system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons / pharmacology*
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Kerosene*
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects*
  • Military Personnel*
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Hydrocarbons
  • JP8 aviation fuel
  • Kerosene
  • Vehicle Emissions