JP-8 jet fuel exposure results in immediate immunotoxicity, which is cumulative over time

David T. Harris, Debbie Sakiestewa, Dominic Titone, R. Scott Young, Mark Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The US Air Force has implemented the widespread use of JP-8 jet fuel in its operations, although a thorough understanding of its potential effects upon exposed personnel is unclear. In the present study, the immediate effects of JP-8 exposure on the immune system were analyzed. Exposure of mice once to a single 1000 mg/m3concentration of JP-8 for one hour resulted in significant immune organ weight loss and loss of viable immune cells from the spleen within two hours post-exposure. Although a similar exposure had no effect on thymus organ weight, it did result in significant losses of viable immune cells at one hour post-exposure. It was also observed that a loss of viable bone marrow cells could be seen at four hours post-exposure, with a return to baseline levels by 24 hours post-exposure. In terms of peripheral blood immune cells, a significant loss of viable immune cells was observed within one hour post-exposure, which became more pronounced with time. Further, it was observed that a single one-hour JP-8 exposure resulted in an immediate loss of immune function at one hour post-exposure that did not recover within 24 hours. An extension of the above experiments revealed that each additional one hour/day of exposure to 1000 mg/m3of JP-8 promulgates the significant immunotoxicity described above. That is, spleenic organ weights, as well as viable cell numbers, continued to decline with additional days of short-term exposure. Thymic organ weights were significantly reduced at three to four days of one-hour exposures, with a continuing loss of viable cell numbers. Significantly, functional immune responses continued to deteriorate with each additional day of JP-8 exposure. Thus, low concentration JP-8 jet fuel exposures have significant effects on the immune system, these effects occur rapidly and these effects are cumulative over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology and Industrial Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2002


  • JP-8
  • hydrocarbon inhalation
  • immunotoxicology
  • jet fuel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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