In vitro HgCl2 exposure of immune cells at different stages of maturation: Effects on phenotype and function

I. A. Silva, J. Graber, J. F. Nyland, E. K. Silbergeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This is the first study to investigate the hypothesis that the immunotoxic effects of inorganic mercury may be modulated by inherent differences in the responsiveness of immune cells related to the age of the donor. We exposed cells from lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus, collected from 7- and 10-day-old CD.1 pups, as well as from adult CD.1 mice, in terms of the effects of mercury in vitro on responses to Con-A stimulation with respect to proliferation, cytokine production, and cell phenotype. The effects of mercury on proliferation were age and organ dependent, while effects on cytokine production were only age dependent. Effects of mercury were observed only on splenocyte T-cell subpopulations and only in cells from 10-day-old pups and from adults. Mercury had no effect on IFN-γ and IL-4 production by splenocytes from 7-day-old pups, but significantly decreased release of these cytokines by splenocytes from 10-day-old pups and adults. Hg did not affect IL-4 production by lymph node cells or thymocytes. In lymph node cells Hg affected IFN-γ production only at 7 days. These data indicate that inherent properties of immune cells at different stages of development may influence the response to immunotoxicants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-348
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell phenotype
  • Cytokines
  • Immunotoxicity
  • Mercury chloride (HgCl)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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