Fetal alcohol and immunity: Depression of mitogen-induced lymphocyte blastogenesis

A. A. Monjan, W. Mandell

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34 Scopus citations


In utero exposure to alcohol was found to produce, in adulthood, a marked suppression of lymphocyte reactivity. Exposure was generated by the intubation of alcohol into female rats from 2 weeks prior to mating until delivery. The mothers received either 1, 3, or 6 g/kg of ethanol or sucrose (isocaloric control). At 7, 11, and 18 months of age, splenic lymphocytes from the offspring were cultured in the presence of graded doses of the mitogens, ConA or LPS. It was found that lymphocytes of offspring from rats given 6 g/kg ETOH had as little as 2% of the DNA-synthetic activity as did the control lymphocytes in response to ConA, a T cell-specific mitogen. On the other hand, responses to LPS, a B cell-specific mitogen was normal. The lower concentrations of alcohol did not alter lymphocyte responsiveness. This T cell depression, although long-lasting, was transient and not evident in rats 18 months of age. These preliminary data indicate that ethanol may be teratogenic for the immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-215
Number of pages3
JournalNeurobehavioral Toxicology and Teratology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Embryology
  • Toxicology


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