Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are environmental contaminants known to cause adverse health effects to biological systems. Limited data are available on their effects on the immune system of wildlife species. Previously, we found that 4 and 6-week-old white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) born from dams injected with a single dose (300 mg/kg) of Aroclor 1254, had altered immunological, hematological, and biochemical responses. Here, we examined the effect of transplacental lactational and postnatal exposure to Aroclor 1254, at a concentration similar to that found at contaminated sites, on various physiological parameters of 22-week-old white-footed mice. Liver weight and liver somatic index of PCB treated animals were significantly higher, the combined weights of the adrenal glands were significantly lower and EROD and BROD enzyme activity was significantly higher compared to control values. The number of thymocytes of the treated mice was significantly lower than that of the controls; however, thymocytes of treated mice had a higher proliferative response to the mitogen Con A. These alterations were correlated with the PCBs body burdens. Some toxic effects of chronic exposure to PCBs, at levels comparable to exposure found in contaminated sites in the USA, are still evident in adult P. leucopus.
Additional publication details
Immunological and physiological effects of chronic exposure of Peromyscus leucopus to Aroclor 1254 at a concentration similar to that found at contaminated sites