Immune alterations in humans exposed to the termiticide technical chlordane

Arch Environ Health. Jul-Aug 1992;47(4):295-301. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1992.9938365.


Lymphocyte phenotype frequencies and in vitro functional assays were studied in 27 individuals who had been exposed to technical chlordane in their homes or at their places of work. A control group consisted of 118 individuals who were similar to the exposed group with respect to age and sex distribution, and who had not knowingly experienced exposure to technical chlordane, was chosen for study. A significantly increased frequency of cortical thymocytes in the circulation (CD1) (p less than .001) and a decreased frequency of the suppressor-inducer phenotype CD45RA/T4 (p less than .01) were noted in the exposed group. Both kappa and lambda light-chain frequencies were elevated (p less than .01). Proliferative responses to the three mitogens tested, PHA, CONA, PWM, and to allogeneic lymphocytes in the mixed-lymphocyte culture assay were significantly lower than in controls (p less than .01). Responses in assays of the natural killer function were not significantly different from those of controls, but Fc receptor-associated K cell function was significantly greater than responses in controls. Of 12 individuals tested for evidence of autoimmunity, 11 demonstrated some increased titer of a form of autoantibody. This cluster of significant findings demonstrates the emergence of aberrant peripheral T and B cell regulation and a potential for autoimmune activation, detectable up to 10 y after exposure to technical chlordane.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / chemistry
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Chlordan / adverse effects*
  • Chlordan / analysis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains / blood
  • Immunoglobulin lambda-Chains / blood
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / blood
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / chemically induced
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Insect Control
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Immunoglobulin lambda-Chains
  • Chlordan