Autoimmune response in MRL+/+ mice following treatment with dichloroacetyl chloride or dichloroacetic anhydride

Ping Cai, Rolf König, M. Firoze Khan, Suimin Qiu, Bhupendra S. Kaphalia, G. A.S. Ansari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Dichloroacetyl chloride (DCAC) is formed from trichloroethene (TCE), which is implicated in inducing/accelerating autoimmune response. Due to its potent acylating activity, DCAC may convert proteins to neo-antigens and thus could induce autoimmune responses. Dichloroacetic anhydride (DCAA), which is a similar acylating agent, might also induce autoimmune responses. To evaluate if chloroacylation plays a role in the induction of autoimmunity, we have measured the autoimmune responses following treatment with DCAC or DCAA in autoimmune-prone MRL+/+ mice. Five-week-old female mice were injected intraperitoneally (twice weekly) with 0.2 mmol/kg of DCAC or DCAA in corn oil for 6 weeks. Total serum IgG, IgG1, and IgE levels were significantly increased in DCAC-treated mice as compared to controls. These increases corresponded with increases in DCAC-specific IgG and IgG1 levels. Total serum IgM was decreased in both DCAC- and DCAA-treated mice. Antinuclear antibodies, measured as an indication of systemic autoimmune responses, were increased in both DCAC- and DCAA-treated mice. Of eight Th1/Th2 cytokines measured in the serum, only IL-5 was significantly decreased in both treatment groups. The cytokine secretion patterns of splenic lymphocytes after stimulation with antibodies against CD3 (T cell receptor-mediated signal) and CD28 (costimulatory signal) differed between treatment and control groups. Levels of IL-1, IL-3, IL-6, IFN-γ, G-CSF, and KC were higher in cultures of stimulated splenocytes from either DCAC- or DCAA-treated mice than from controls. The level of IL-17 was only increased in cultures from DCAC-treated mice. Increased lymphocytic populations were found in the red pulp of spleens following treatment with either DCAC or DCAA. In addition, thickening of the alveolar septa in the lungs of DCAC- or DCAA-treated mice was observed. The lung histopathology in exposed mice was consistent with the symptomology observed in welders exposed to DCAC/phosgene. Thickening was more pronounced in DCAC-treated mice. Our data suggest that DCAC and DCAA elicit autoimmune responses in MRL+/+ mice that might be reflective of their chloroacylation potential in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2006


  • Antinuclear antibodies
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cytokines
  • Dichloroacetic anhydride (DCAA)
  • Dichloroacetyl chloride (DCAC)
  • Immunotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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