Effects of short-term JP-8 jet fuel exposure on cell-mediated immunity

David T. Harris, Debbie Sakiestewa, Raymond F. Robledo, R. Scott Young, Mark Witten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The U.S. 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. Exposure to environmental toxicants such as JP-8 may have significant effects on host physiology. Jet fuel exposure has been shown to cause human liver dysfunction, abnormal electroencephalograms, shortened attention spans, and decreased sensorimotor speed. Previous studies have shown that short-term, low-concentration JP-8 exposure had significant effects on the immune system; e.g., decreased viable immune cell numbers, decreased immune organ weights, and loss of immune function that persisted for extended periods of time (i.e., up to 4 weeks post-exposure). In the current study, an in-depth analysis of the effects of JP-8 exposure on cellular immunity was performed. Short-term (7 days, 1 h/day), low-concentration (1000 mg/m3) exposures were conducted in mice, and T cell and natural killer (NK) cell functions were analyzed 24 h after the last exposure. The exposure regimen was found to almost completely ablate NK cell function, as well as significantly suppress the generation of lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cell activity. Furthermore, JP-8 exposure suppressed the generation of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) cells from precursor T cells, and inhibited helper T cell activity. These findings demonstrate that JP-8 jet fuel exposure has significant detrimental effects on immune functions of exposed individuals. JP-8 jet fuel should be considered a potential and significant immunotoxicant. Chronic exposure to JP-8 may have serious implications to the long-term health of exposed individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology and Industrial Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2000


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of short-term JP-8 jet fuel exposure on cell-mediated immunity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this