Immunomodulatory effects of the fungicide Mancozeb in agricultural workers

Emanuela Corsini, Sarah Birindelli, Silvia Fustinoni, Gioia De Paschale, Teresa Mammone, Sara Visentin, Corrado L. Galli, Marina Marinovich, Claudio Colosio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Available data suggest that ethylenebisdithiocarbamates (EBDCs) may have immunomodulatory effects. This study aimed to investigate the immunological profile of farmers exposed to Mancozeb, an EBDC fungicide, through the determination of several serum, cellular, and functional immune parameters. Twenty-six healthy subjects entered the study, 13 vineyards exposed to Mancozeb and 13 unexposed controls. Exposure was assessed through the determination of ethylentiourea (ETU) in urine. Complete and differential blood count, serum immunoglobulins, complement fractions, autoantibodies, lymphocyte subpopulations, proliferative response to mitogens, natural killer (NK) activity, and cytokine production were measured. Post-exposure samples showed ETU urine concentration significantly higher than pre-exposure and control groups. A significant increase in CD19+ cells, both percentage and absolute number, and a significant decrease in the percentage of CD25+ cells were found in post-exposure samples compared to controls. A statistically significant increase in the proliferative response to phorbol myristate acetate plus ionomycin (PMA + ionomycin) was observed in the post-exposure group compared to controls and baseline, while a significant reduction in LPS-induced TNF-α release in post-exposure samples was observed. Overall, our results suggest that low-level exposure to Mancozeb has slight immunomodulatory effects, and point out a method adequate to reveal immune-modifications in workers occupationally exposed to potential immunotoxic compounds, based on a whole blood assay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2005


  • Agricultural workers
  • Biological monitoring
  • CD19
  • CD25
  • Fungicide
  • Immunotoxicology
  • Mancozeb
  • Proliferative response
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology


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