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  • 1 Department of Genetics, Cell and Immunobiology Semmelweis University H-1089 Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 4, Hungary
  • 2 Molecular Immunological Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Budapest, Hungary
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In earlier experiments single benzpyrene treatment of newborn rats caused strong alterations in the endorphin content of adult rats' immune cells. In the present experiments young (4-6 weeks old) male rats were studied for demonstrating the effect of the single neonatal or repeated (neonatally and at weanling) benzpyrene exposure on the serotonin content of immune cells (blood lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes; peritoneal fluid lymphocytes, mast cells, monocytes and granulocytes, thymic lymphocytes). Flow cytometric analysis showed that 50 µg benzpyrene treatment of five-week-old animals was ineffective after 5 days and this was the situation four weeks after single neonatal (20 µg) benzpyrene exposure. However, the repeated treatment of neonatally benzpyrene exposed 4 weeks old animals after 5 days resulted in elevated blood and thymic lymphocyte serotonin amount and in one index (peritoneal monocyte-granulocyte group) reduced serotonin content. This means that neonatal benzpyrene treatment does not influence directly the serotonin content (production or transport) of immune cells (unlike to the endorphin content) however, sensitizes them to a following benzpyrene exposure. The results widen the list of harmful effects (influencing steroid receptor binding, sexual behavior and immune cells' endorphin content) of perinatal benzpyrene exposure.

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