The present study was conducted to clarify the relationship between the humoral immune response and the concentration of beryllium (Be) in the blood and in the spleen of mice. Mice were intraperitoneally injected with 0.075, 0.15, 0.3 or 0.6 mg BeCl2/kg body weigth (1/80, 1/40, 1/20, 1/10 of the LD50 for i.p. injection) every day for 2 weeks. The humoral immune response was determined by measuring the IgM-plaque forming cells (PFC) in the spleen using sheep red blood cells (SRBC) as antigen. The Be concentration in the blood and in the spleen was measured by flameless atomic absorption analysis. The changes of the antibody production in the spleen to SRBC and the Be concentration in the blood and in the spleen of mice were studied throughout the 10 day period after stopping the Be injections. The following conclusions from the study were obtained. It was recognized that the IgM or IgG-PFC to SRBC in the spleen of mice injected with Be increased when the Be concentration in the blood was kept between 5 and 35 ng/ml, and decreased when the level was over 35 ng/ml. A relationship between the change of the IgM or IgG-PFC to SRBC and the Be concentration in the spleen was not recognized. It is suggested that the adjuvant activity of beryllium on the humoral immune response is related to the concentration of beryllium in the blood.
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