Corticosterone concentration and the immune cell composition were measured in rats exposed by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection to different doses (10-500 mg kg-1) of acephate (Ace) and 250 μg kg-1 of interleukin 1 (IL-1), either alone or in combination. Two different combination protocols were used: IL-1 and Ace were administered simultaneously; and IL-1 was injected 60 min after Ace administration (sequential exposure). Ace, in a dose- and time-dependent manner, inhibited blood and brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activities, increased blood corticosterone concentrations, suppressed blood CD4, CD8, B cell and monocyte contents and increased blood neutrophil counts. The Ace-induced changes lasted for up to 24 h after Ace exposure. Interleukin I increased blood corticosterone concentrations without affecting blood or brain AChE activities. The IL-1-induced corticosterone concentration returned to the basal level within 3-10 h after IL-1 exposure. The CD4, CD8, B cell and monocyte counts increased significantly at 10 min after IL-1 exposure. The cell counts decreased gradually thereafter and returned to the basal level within 30 min after IL-1 exposure. Simultaneous exposure of rats to Ace and IL-1 partially suppressed the IL-1-induced increase in the immune cell counts and decreased the immune cell nujnbers below the basal values. Sequential injection of Ace and IL-1 blocked the IL-1-induced increase in the immune cell numbers. Thus, Ace exposure would impair the normal distribution of immune cells and deregulate the IL-1 response in rats. This study therefore suggests that Ace would suppress the immune cell numbers in blood, thus decreasing an organism's immunity. Ace exposure occurring concurrent with injury would augment the acute-phase response, which would augment the toxic effects of IL-1 and other cytokines, and Ace exposure occurring prior to the injury would suppress or abolish the initial stimulatory effects of IL-1, which would decrease an organism's ability to combat infection or injury.
- Immune cells