Document Type


Publication Date

November 1988


The effects of trace metal contaminants (lead, cadmium, and mercury) on the immunologic responses of rats infected with Trypanosoma lewisi were investigated to determine whether chronic exposures to subclinical levels of these metals have adverse effects on the host's ability to respond to an infective agent.Earlier and higher levels of parasitemia were detected in animals exposed to cadmium, lead, and mercury. The variability in length of trypanosome cells in metal-exposed animals became constant at a later time and persisted for a longer time, indicating a delay in antibody synthesis. Serum levels of IgG and IgM were increased in infected animals exposed to trace metals; however, lower levels were observed when compared with infected control animals. Animals exposed only to trace metals showed decreases in serum levels of IgG and IgM. In contact sensitivity to dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB), animals exposed to trace metals demonstrated no significant difference in sensitization when compared with those infected and exposed to trace metals.

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