Persistent suppression of contact hypersensitivity, and altered T-cell parameters in F344 rats exposed perinatally to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)

Toxicology. 2004 Apr 1;197(1):57-66. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2003.12.012.


The outcome of perinatal low-level TCDD exposure on the T-cell-mediated contact hypersensitivity (CHS) response in adult F344 rats was investigated. Suppression of the 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB)-specific contact hypersensitivity reponse occurred in mature offspring of dams dosed by gavage with 1microg or 3microg TCDD/kg on gestation day (GD) 14. To determine if this effect was correlated with altered distribution or activation of major T-cell subtypes, cells of the auricular lymph node draining the hapten-treated skin were evaluated by flow cytometry for expressed phenotype, including activation markers, 24h after challenge. Six-month-old female offspring with significantly decreased CHS and born to dams given 3microg TCDD/kg, had significantly greater proportion of CD4(+) T cells expressing a naive phenotype marker, CD45RC(hi), in their draining nodes. The greater relative frequency of this CD4(+) subset in peripheral lymphoid tissues associated with a reduced CHS in these rats may be attributed to a reduction in the proportion of CD4(+) T cells maintaining or recruited into an activated state. The CHS proved to be a valuable bioassay for investigating long-term immunotoxic effects of perinatal TCDD exposure in rats.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Environmental Pollutants / administration & dosage
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fetus / abnormalities
  • Fetus / drug effects*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / chemically induced
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / pathology
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed / prevention & control*
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / drug effects
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / administration & dosage
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens