Objectives: Few epidemiological studies have studied the effect of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on blood cytokine levels. In this study we investigated changes in plasma levels of a large panel of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors among workers from a Dutch historical cohort occupationally exposed to chlorophenoxy herbicides and contaminants including TCDD.
Methods: Eighty-five workers who had been exposed to either high (n = 47) or low (n = 38) TCDD levels more than 30 years before serum collection were included in the current investigation. Plasma level of 16 cytokines, 10 chemokines, and 6 growth factors were measured. Current plasma levels of TCDD (TCDD(current)) were determined by high-resolution gas chromatography/isotope-dilution high-resolution mass spectrometry. TCDD blood levels at the time of last exposure (TCDD(max)) were estimated using a one-compartment first order kinetic model.
Results: Blood levels of most analytes had a negative association with current and estimated past maximum TCDD levels. These decreases reached formal statistical significance for fractalkine, transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-α), and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) with increasing TCDD levels.
Conclusion: Our study showed a general reduction in most analyte levels with the strongest effects for fractalkine, FGF2, and TGF-α. These findings suggest that TCDD exposure could suppress the immune system and that chemokine and growth factor-dependent cellular pathway changes by TCDD may play role in TCDD toxicity and associated health effects.
Keywords: NHL; chemokine; cytokine; dioxin; growth factor.