We previously found that carbamate pesticides induced significant apoptosis in human natural killer cells. To investigate whether carbamate pesticides also induce apoptosis in human T lymphocytes, in the present study Jurkat human T cells were treated in vitro
with thiram, maneb, carbaryl or ziram. Apoptosis was determined by FITC-Annexin-V/PI staining. To explore the mechanism of apoptosis, intracellular levels of active caspase 3 and mitochondrial cytochrome-c release were determined by flow cytometry. We found that thiram, ziram, maneb and carbaryl also induced apoptosis in a time- and dose-dependent manner in the human T cells. However, the strength of the apoptosis-inducing effect differed among the pesticides, with the: thiram > ziram > maneb > carbaryl. Moreover, thiram significantly increased the intracellular level of active caspase 3 and caspase inhibitors significantly inhibited apoptosis. Thiram also significantly caused mitochondrial cytochrome-c release. These findings indicate that carbamate pesticides can induce apoptosis in human T cells, and the apoptosis is mediated by the activation of caspases and the release of mitochondrial cytochrome-c.
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