Immunotoxicological investigation of subacute combined exposure by permethrin and the heavy metals arsenic(III) and mercury(II) in rats

L. Institóris, Olga Siroki, U. Undeger, N. Basaran, I. Dési

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Effects of combined 28 days of oral exposure to the insecticide Permethrin (Pe), alone or in combination with arsenic-III (As) or Hg-II (Hg), were investigated on certain toxicological (body weight, organ weights), haematological (white blood cell (WBC) and red blood cell (RBC) counts, haematocrit (Ht), mean cell volume (MCV), cell content of the femoral bone marrow) and immune function (IgM-PFC, delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction) parameters of male Wistar rats. Immunotoxic (H = high) and NOEL (L = low) doses of the three substances were determined in preliminary experiments under identical experimental conditions. In the present study, the immunotoxic dose of Pe (126 mg/kg) was combined with the NOEL dose of As (3.33 mg/kg) or Hg (0.40 mg/kg), and the NOEL dose of Pe (12.6 mg/kg) with the immunotoxic dose of As (13.3 mg/kg) or Hg (3.20 mg/kg). A separate group of animals, treated with the appropriate high dose component only, was used as internal control. Significant interactions were observed in the liver weight of the animals treated with Pe(H)-As(L) or As(H)-Pe(L), in the cell content of the femoral bone marrow in case of Pe(H)-As(L) and Pe(H)-Hg(L) combinations, as well as in the number of PFCs formed from 106 spleen cells in the Pe(H)-As(L) and in the maximum of DTH reaction in the Hg(H)-Pe(L) combination. The results show that combined exposures by the investigated substances modify the toxic (including immunotoxic) effects of the single compounds. These findings rise the probability that the interactions observed can also be present in human situations altering the health hazard of this three chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-933
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 21 2001



  • Arsenic(III)
  • Immunotoxicity
  • Mercury(II)
  • Permethrin
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology

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