Linda J. Lee

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Robyn P. Hillam


The objectives of this investigation was to determine the effects of ingested pentachlorophenol (PCP) on immunological parameters in mice. Specific immunotoxic effects of PCP were determined using the results of total and differential white blood cell counts, electrophoretic serum protein profiles, hemagglutination antibody titers, Jerne plaque assays of antibody-forming cells, and lymphocyte stimulation assays. Combined ~vivo effects were ascertained by observing any alteration in the susceptibility of mice when challenged by a Gram negative pathogen. The diverse industrial and agricultural application of pentachlorophenol results in the exposure of a large fraction of the population to this pesticide. It is used as a fungicide and/or bacteriocide in the processing and preservation of leather, rubber, fabrics, and cellulosic products; as an insecticide to control termites and wood-boring insects in the construction and lumber industry; and as a herbicide, defoliant, and preharvest desiccant in agriculture. Use of PCP has been steadily increasing to the point where over 48 million pounds were used in the United States in 1974. This intense level of usage makes it important to establish the environmental fate of PCP and the effects it may elicit as it enters an animal system. Documented contamination of air, water, and soil and the resulting contamination of food with PCP al lows many routes by which it may enter the body. These include: ingestion, inhalation, and absorption through the skin. Due to increasing utilization and contamination and the various means of exposure, it is not surprising that PCP residues have been detected in human urine, birds, fish, swine confined to PCP-treated farrowing pens, and cattle housed in barns where PCP had been used as a wood preservative. Toxicological studies of pure and commercial grade PCP were made comparing their effects on rat liver function and embryonal and fetal development. It was concluded from these studies that various toxic effects of PCP exposure could be attributed to either the contaminating chlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans, to PCP itself, or to both acting in concert. Work on other pesticides and their effects on the hematopoietic and lymphoid systems have been performed. Studies on lymphoid organs, total and differential white blood cell counts, serum protein profiles, humoral and cell-mediated immunity, and resistance to a bacterial challenge have been reported. Studies have indicated that widespread use of these compounds may result in a potential for immunosuppression. Such information provided the basis for this investigation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Pentachlorophenol -- Toxicology



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University