Areca quid (AQ) chewing is a popular oral habit, especially in Southeast Asia cultures, in which children may be engaged in the addictive habit early in their lives. Extracts of areca nuts, the main component of AQ, have been shown to affect the functionality of T-cells. However, the potential influence of ANE on the development of T-cells is unknown. This study, therefore, investigated the impact of areca nut extracts (ANE) on thymocytes and the potential mechanisms of action. Mice administered intraperitoneally with ANE at 1, 5, or 25mg/kg daily for 5 days showed significant dose-dependent reductions in thymocyte viability. A marked decrease in the total number of thymocytes and the proportion of thymic CD4+CD8+ cells was observed in the 25mg ANE/kg-treated mice, whereas the proportion of CD4 and CD8 single positive and CD4-CD8- cells was significantly increased. Further examination on the functionality of thymocytes showed that ANE suppress IL-2 production both ex vivo and in vitro. These results suggest that ANE may attenuate the development and functionality of thymic T-cells. ANE also directly induced apoptosis in thymic T-cells through activation of casapase-3 and apoptosis inducing factor (AIF). Collectively, the data suggested that the thymus is a sensitive target to ANE. Early exposure to ANE may interfere with the development and functionality of thymic T-cells.
- Thymic atrophy
ASJC Scopus subject areas