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Exposures to uranium and arsenic alter intraepithelial and innate immune cells in the small intestine of male and female mice.

Toxicology and applied pharmacology (2020-07-28)
Sebastian Medina, Fredine T Lauer, Eliseo F Castillo, Alicia M Bolt, Abdul-Mehdi S Ali, Ke Jian Liu, Scott W Burchiel
ABSTRACT

Human exposures to environmental metals, including uranium (U) and arsenic (As) are a global public health concern. Chronic exposures to U and As are linked to many adverse health effects including, immune suppression and autoimmunity. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to many immune cells vital in the maintenance of systemic immune health. However, very little is known about the immunotoxicity of U and As at this site. The present study examined the burden of U and As exposure in the GI tract as well as the resultant immunotoxicity to intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) and innate immune cells of the small intestine following chronic drinking water exposures of male and female mice to U (in the form of uranyl acetate, UA) and As (in the form of sodium arsenite, As3+). Exposure to U or As3+ resulted in high levels of U or As in the GI tract of male and female mice, respectively. A reduction of small intestinal CD4+ IELs (TCRαβ+, CD8αα+) was found following As3+ exposure, whereas U produced widespread suppression of CD4- IEL subsets (TCRαβ+ and TCRγδ+). Evaluation of innate immune cell subsets in the small intestinal lamina propria revealed a decrease in mature macrophages, along with a corresponding increase in immature/proinflammatory macrophages following As3+ exposures. These data show that exposures to two prevalent environmental contaminants, U and As produce significant immunotoxicity in the GI tract. Collectively, these findings provide a critical framework for understanding the underlying immune health issues reported in human populations chronically exposed to environmental metals.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Sodium (meta)arsenite, ≥90%
Sigma-Aldrich
Acridine Orange hydrochloride solution, 10 mg/mL in H2O