Date of Award

Spring 2010

Project Type


Program or Major

Nutritional Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Anthony R Tagliaferro


Endocrine disrupting chemicals have adverse effects on immune function that may result in respiratory conditions. Inhalation of dust is a major route of exposure to PBDEs; however, the impact of PBDEs on the immune response is unclear. The objective of this in vitro study was to determine the impact of PBDEs on the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines by activated alveolar macrophages. Porcine alveolar macrophages were grown in RPMI growth media supplemented with 10% porcine serum and incubated for 24-hours. After 24-hours, cells were activated by inoculation with PMA. In addition to PMA, different concentrations of the PBDE mixture DE-71 were introduced to the wells. After 6-hour incubation, conditioned media was removed and analyzed. Cells exposed to PMA and PBDEs released significantly less pro-inflammatory cytokines compared to controls. Suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines---characteristic of a compromised immune system---suggests that persistent exposure to PBDEs may increase the susceptibility to respiratory conditions.