Effects of thyroid hormone deprivation on immunity in postmetamorphic frogs.


Previously, we showed that sodium perchlorate treatment of larval frogs (Xenopus laevis) interferes with the normal expansion of T and B lymphocytes and development of an adult-type T-cell population. It was unclear whether these effects resulted from preventing metamorphosis or from long-term thyroid hormone (TH) deprivation. To try to distinguish between these possibilities, we have now studied the effects of perchlorate treatment beginning immediately after metamorphosis. After 5 months, treated animals, but not untreated controls, had large thyroid goiters, were significantly smaller, and had significantly fewer erythrocytes, thymocytes, and splenocytes. Although the number of IgM- splenocytes and thymocytes was reduced, the estimated percent of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II+ cells within this subset was not significantly different from that of controls. Furthermore, splenocytes from perchlorate-treated frogs could respond normally by [3H]TdR incorporation to the T-cell mitogens, phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA) and concanavalin A (Con A). Thus, unlike perchlorate-treated larvae, perchlorate-treated juveniles appear to be able to develop T cells with an adult phenotype competent to respond to activation and proliferation signals.