This study investigates the effect of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) on the lytic function of human natural killer (NK) cells and on ATP levels in NK cells. NK cells are capable of lysing tumor cells, virally infected cells, and antibody-coated cells. HBCD is a brominated cyclic alkane used primarily as an additive flame retardant. If HBCD interferes with NK cell function, this could increase risk of tumor development and/or viral infection. NK cells were exposed to various concentrations of HBCD for 24 and 48 h and 6 days before determining lytic function and ATP levels. ATP levels and lytic function were also determined in NK cells that were exposed to HBCD for 1 h followed by 24 and 48 h, and 6 days in HBCD-free media. The results indicated that exposure of NK cells to 10 µm HBCD for 24 h causes a very significant decrease in both NK cell lytic function and ATP levels (93.5 and 90.5%, respectively). Exposure of NK cells to 10 µm HBCD for 1 h followed by 24 h in HBCD-free media showed a progressive and persistent loss of lytic function (89.3%) as well as a decrease in ATP levels (46.1%). The results indicate that HBCD exposures decreased lytic function as well as ATP levels. However, a decrease in lytic function was not necessarily accompanied by a similar decrease in ATP. Importantly, these results also indicate that a brief (1 h) exposure to HBCD causes a progressive loss of lytic function over a 6 day period.
Hinkson, N.C. and Whalen, M.M. (2009), Hexabromocyclododecane decreases the lytic function and ATP levels of human natural killer cells. J. Appl. Toxicol., 29: 656-661. https://doi.org/10.1002/jat.1453