Background: Exposure to environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is often associated with dysregulated immune homeostasis, but the mechanisms of action remain unclear. Objectives: The aim of this study was to test a hypothesis that EDCs regulate the functions of human dendritic cells, a front-line, immunoregulatory cell type in contact with the environment. Methods: We investigated circulating myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) from five subjects and measured their responses, with or without coculture with autologous T cells, to two common EDCs, nonylphenol (NP) and 4-octylphenol (4-OP). EDC-associated cytokine responses, signaling events, and histone modifications were examined using ELISA, Western blotting, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, respectively. Results: In all cases, mDCs treated with NP or 4-OP demonstrated increased expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) but decreased baseline and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced (interleukin) (IL)-10 production; the increase in TNF-α was partially reversible by an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist. Activation of the MKK3/6-p38 signaling pathway marked the effect of NP on TNF-α expression, concomitant with enhanced levels of methyltranferase complex [mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) and tryptophan-aspartic acid repeat domain 5 (WDR5)] in the nucleus and of trimethylated H3K4, acetylated H3, and H4 at the TNFA gene locus. Further, up-regulated TNF-α expression was significantly suppressed in NP-treated mDCs by a histone acetyltransferase inhibitor. In the presence of NP-treated mDCs, T cells showed increased levels of IL-13 but decreased expression of interferon-γ. Conclusions: These results suggest that NP and 4-OP may have functional effects on the response of mDCs via, in part, the ER, MKK3/6-p38 MAPK signaling pathway, and histone modifications, with subsequent influence on the T-cell cytokine responses.
- Dendritic cell
- Endocrine-disrupting chemical
- Mixed-lineage leukemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis