Effect of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on influenza virus host resistance in mice

Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1996 Jan;29(1):40-7. doi: 10.1006/faat.1996.0004.


2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) causes numerous immunotoxic effects including thymic involution and an immunosuppression of nonspecific as well as specific cell- and humoral-mediated immunity. TCDD administration to laboratory animals also results in a decreased resistance to numerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Effects on virus host resistance appear to be among the most sensitive effects of TCDD immunotoxicity. However, previous studies have not achieved a no effect level. The present studies utilized an influenza virus host resistance model in mice to quantify the sensitivity of this model to TCDD and to determine the NOAEL (no observed adverse effect level) of TCDD for influenza virus. Results indicated that a single dose of TCDD at 0.10, 0.05, or 0.01 microgram/kg resulted in an increased mortality to Hong Kong influenza virus when mice were challenged 7 days after TCDD administration. Increased mortality was not correlated with increased virus titers in the lungs. TCDD at 0.005 or 0.001 micrograms/kg had no effect on influenza-induced mortality. TCDD alone did not affect thymus weight at any dose administered in this study. TCDD also did not alter the virus-enhanced increase in lung weight:body weight ratio nor the virus-induced decrease in thymus weight. Thus, low levels of TCDD exposure lead to enhanced mortality to influenza virus; however, the mechanism of this effect remains to be elucidated. Nonetheless, enhanced mortality to influenza virus in mice following a single dose of 10 ng TCDD/kg represents the most sensitive adverse effect yet reported for TCDD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Disease Susceptibility / chemically induced
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects*
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza A virus / pathogenicity*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Mice
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / administration & dosage
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / toxicity*
  • Survival Rate


  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins