Allergic reaction induced by dermal and/or respiratory exposure to low-dose phenoxyacetic acid, organophosphorus, and carbamate pesticides

Toxicology. 2009 Jul 10;261(3):152-61. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2009.05.014. Epub 2009 May 23.


Several types of pesticides, such as organophosphates, phenoxyacetic acid, and carbamate have a high risk of affecting human health, causing allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma-like diseases. We used our long-term sensitization method and a local lymph node assay to examine the allergic reactions caused by several types of pesticides. BALB/c mice were topically sensitized (9 times in 3 weeks), then challenged dermally or intratracheally with 2,4-D, BRP, or furathiocarb. One day post-challenge, the mice were processed to obtain biologic materials for use in assays of total IgE levels in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF); differential cell counts and chemokine levels in BALF; lymphocyte counts and surface antigen expression on B-cells within regional lymph nodes (LNs); and, ex situ cytokine production by cells from these LNs. 2,4-D-induced immune responses characteristic of immediate-type respiratory reactions, as evidenced by increased total IgE levels in both serum and BALF; an influx of eosinophils, neutrophils, and chemokines (MCP-1, eotaxin, and MIP-1beta) in BALF; increased surface antigen expression on B-cells IgE and MHC class II production) in both auricular and the lung-associated LNs; and increased Th2 cytokine production (IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13) in both auricular and the lung-associated LN cells. In contrast, BRP and furathiocarb treatment yielded, at most, non-significant increases in all respiratory allergic parameters. BRP and furathiocarb induced marked proliferation of MHC Class II-positive B-cells and Th1 cytokines (IL-2, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma) in only auricular LN cells. These results suggest that 2,4-D is a respiratory allergen and BRP and furathiocarb are contact allergens. As our protocol detected classified allergic responses to low-molecular-weight chemicals, it thus may be useful for detecting environmental chemical-related allergy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / administration & dosage
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / toxicity*
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Benzofurans / administration & dosage
  • Benzofurans / toxicity*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Carbamates / administration & dosage
  • Carbamates / toxicity*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Local Lymph Node Assay
  • Lymph Nodes / drug effects*
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / toxicity*
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / pathology


  • Allergens
  • Benzofurans
  • Carbamates
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Pesticides
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • deltanit