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Historical uranium (U) mining in the Southwestern United States resulted in significant environmental contamination throughout this region and presents a significant risk of chronic metal exposure and toxicity for communities living in close proximity to mine waste sites. Uranium exposure is associated with numerous deleterious health effects including immune dysfunction; however, its effects on the immune system have yet to be fully characterized. We recently published that drinking water exposure to U, in the form of uranyl acetate (UA), results in overall low tissue retention of U (<0.01%), with very little accumulation in immune organs (blood, bone marrow, spleen, and thymus) of male and female mice. In the present study we characterized the immunotoxicity of U, in the form of UA, following a 60-day drinking water exposure to 5 and 50 ppm in male and female C57BL/6 J mice. The following immunotoxicity endpoints were evaluated: hematology, immune tissue weights and total cell recoveries, immunophenotying of the spleen and thymus, and immune cell function (lymphocyte mitogenesis and T-dependent antibody response). Uranium exposure had subtle impacts on the immune endpoints evaluated, likely due to low U accumulation at these sites. The only significant alterations were a slight decrease in the percentages of splenic natural killer T-cells and macrophages in exposed male mice. Despite minimal immunological effects, this study highlights the importance of investigating toxicological endpoints in both sexes and developing accurate animal models that model epidemiological exposures in the future.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Toxicology and applied pharmacology
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The exposure to potentially harmful factors such as trace heavy metals, chemicals, radiation, or toxins due to FOOD CONTAMINATION including DRINKING WATER contamination.
Behaviors associated with the ingesting of water and other liquids; includes rhythmic patterns of drinking (time intervals - onset and duration), frequency and satiety.
Any of several processes in which undesirable impurities in water are removed or neutralized; for example, chlorination, filtration, primary treatment, ion exchange, and distillation. It includes treatment of waste water to provide potable and hygiene water in a controlled or closed environment as well as provision of public drinking water supplies. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed)
Inorganic compounds that contain uranium as an integral part of the molecule.
Illnesses due to micro-organisms and chemicals in drinking water, those caused by organisms having part of their lifecycle in water or those with water-related vectors, and others spread by aerosols containing pathogens.
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