2009 Volume 34 Issue 5 Pages 459-468
It is well known that heavy oil such as pollutant caused serious influences on the marine ecosystem. We may suffer from various disorders in our body via intake of marine foods polluted with heavy oil. However the influences of heavy oil on our immune system have not yet been clarified. Here we show the effects of heavy oil extracts, water-soluble fraction (WSF), methanol-soluble fraction (MSF) and ethanol-soluble fraction (ESF), on immunoglobulin production of mouse splenocytes. All extracts increased IgA productivity of splenocytes. In oral administration, shrinkage of the immune organs such as spleen or thymus was observed in only WSF-administrated mice at least during 7 days. The amount of IgG production level in splenocytes cultured medium and sera were reduced by each extract administration. A flowcytometry method, to monitor splenocytes of WSF-administrated mice, has been set up using double staining with B and T cell-specific surface antibody. The results from cell population analysis indicated that B cells, including plasma cells producing antibody were reduced. The decrease in IgG level in sera was caused by reduction of plasma cells in spleen. Hence, it is suggested that reduction of Ig production was affected by the chemical compounds contained in WSF possibly such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) through the estrogen receptor expressed in lymphocytes.