Exposure to triclosan augments the allergic response to ovalbumin in a mouse model of asthma

Toxicol Sci. 2013 Mar;132(1):96-106. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfs328. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


During the last decade, there has been a remarkable and unexplained increase in the prevalence of asthma. These studies were conducted to investigate the role of dermal exposure to triclosan, an endocrine-disrupting compound, on the hypersensitivity response to ovalbumin (OVA) in a murine model of asthma. Triclosan has had widespread use in the general population as an antibacterial and antifungal agent and is commonly found in consumer products such as soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, shaving creams, mouthwashes, and cleaning supplies. For these studies, BALB/c mice were exposed dermally to concentrations of triclosan ranging from 0.75 to 3% (0.375-1.5mg/mouse/day) for 28 consecutive days. Concordantly, mice were ip injected with OVA (0.9 µg) and aluminum hydroxide (0.5mg) on days 1 and 10 and challenged with OVA (125 µg) by pharyngeal aspiration on days 19 and 27. Compared with the animals exposed to OVA alone, increased spleen weights, OVA-specific IgE, interleukin-13 cytokine levels, and numbers of lung eosinophils were demonstrated when mice were coexposed to OVA and triclosan. Statistically significant increases in OVA-specific and nonspecific airway hyperreactivity were observed for all triclosan coexposed groups compared with the vehicle and OVA controls. In these studies, exposure to triclosan alone was not demonstrated to be allergenic; however, coexposure with a known allergen resulted in enhancement of the hypersensitivity response to that allergen, suggesting that triclosan exposure may augment the allergic responses to other environmental allergens.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents / toxicity*
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Interleukin-13 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin / toxicity*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Triclosan / administration & dosage
  • Triclosan / toxicity*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Interleukin-13
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Triclosan
  • Ovalbumin