Effects of Hexabromocyclododecane on Cytokines, IL-1β and IL-6, in Human Immune Cells

April S Falconer-Turner, Tennessee State University


The brominated flame retardant Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is an environmental contaminant that is used worldwide in a variety of applications including building insulation, furniture upholstery, textiles, etc. As a result, HBCD can be found in various ecological environments, wildlife, human breastmilk, and serum. Interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) are both pro-inflammatory cytokines involved in several biological activities. The primary role of IL-1β is the activation of the immune responses while IL-6 plays a role in cell growth regulation, tissue repair, and immune functions. Elevated levels of IL-1β and IL-6 are associated with chronic inflammation and their associated pathologies. Previous studies have shown that HBCD alters the secretion of both IL-1β and IL-6 from human immune cells. However, it is not clear if these changes are due to HBCD’s alteration of the secretory process or its ability to change the cellular production of IL-1β and IL-6. A time course study was conducted to address this question by exposing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to HBCD concentration ranging from 0.05- 5 μM for 10 minutes, 1hrs, 6hrs, and 24hrs, to evaluate the effects of HBCD on IL-1β and IL-6 production. The 24 h exposures to HBCD showed increased production of IL-1β and IL-6 across all concentrations and was shown to be dependent on MAPK signaling pathways. These elevations are in part due to increases in either transcription and/or the stability of their mRNA. Thus, HBCD has the potential to produce chronic inflammation by stimulating the production of IL-1β and IL-6 in immune cells.

Subject Area

Biochemistry|Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

April S Falconer-Turner, "Effects of Hexabromocyclododecane on Cytokines, IL-1β and IL-6, in Human Immune Cells" (2024). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI29996005.