In vitro atrazine-exposure inhibits human natural killer cell lytic granule release

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


The herbicide atrazine is a known immunotoxicant and an inhibitor of human natural killer (NK) cell lytic function. The precise changes in NK cell lytic function following atrazine exposure have not been fully elucidated. The current study identifies the point at which atrazine exerts its affect on the stepwise process of human NK cell-mediated lyses of the K562 target cell line. Using intracellular staining of human peripheral blood lymphocytes, it was determined that a 24-h in vitro exposure to atrazine did not decrease the level of NK cell lytic proteins granzyme A, granzyme B or perforin. Thus, it was hypothesized that atrazine exposure was inhibiting the ability of the NK cells to bind to the target cell and subsequently inhibit the release of lytic protein from the NK cell. To test this hypothesis, flow cytometry and fluorescent microscopy were employed to analyze NK cell–target cell co-cultures following atrazine exposure. These assays demonstrated no significant decrease in the level of target cell binding. However, the levels of NK intracellular lytic protein retained and the amount of lytic protein released were assessed following a 4-h incubation with K562 target cells. The relative level of intracellular lytic protein was 25–50% higher, and the amount of lytic protein released was 55–65% less in atrazine-treated cells than vehicle-treated cells following incubation with the target cells. These results indicate that ATR exposure inhibits the ability of NK cells to lyse target cells by blocking lytic granule release without affecting the ability of the NK cell to form stable conjugates with target cells.

    loading  Loading Related Articles