Diversity of effects induced by boron-containing compounds on immune response cells and on antibodies in basal state

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Background: It has been reported that boron induces changes in the immune response, including in inflammatory processes. Recently, the effect of boric acid has been documented on the differentiation of lymphocyte clusters in mice and rats. However, the differences among boron-containing compounds (BCC) have been poorly explored. Methods: In this study, we analyzed the effects after oral administration of boric acid (BOR), methylboronic (MET), 3-thyenylboronic (3TB), 4-hydroxymethyl-phenylboronic (4MP) and 4-methanesulfonyl-phenylboronic (4SP) acids on the populations of lymphocytes from spleen and Peyer's patch (PP) as well as on antibodies. Groups of six male BALB/c were orally treated with 4.6 mg/kg of body weight with BOR, MET, 3TB, 4MP, and 4SP/daily for 10 days or vehicle (VEH) as a control group. After euthanasia, the spleen and small intestine were dissected. We conducted flow cytometry assays to assess B, CD3+ T, CD4+ T, and CD8+ T cells. Levels of IgG and IgM in serum, and IgA in intestinal fluid samples were analyzed by enzyme immunoassay. Results: In particular, we observed the effects of the administration of boronic acids on the number of lymphocytes; these changes were more notable in spleen than in PP. We found different profiles for each boron-containing compound, that is BOR induced an increase in the percentage of CD8+ T and CD19+/IgA+ cells in spleen, but a decrease in CD8+ T and B220+/CD19+ cells in PP. Meanwhile MET induced a decrease of CD4+ T in spleen, but induced an increase of CD4+ T cells and a decrease in the number of CD8+ T cells in PP. Boronic acids with an aromatic ring moiety induced changes in serum immunoglobulins levels, while 3TB acid induced a notable increase in S-IgA. Conclusions: Effects in lymphocyte populations and antibodies are different for each tested compound. These results highlight the establishment of the necessary structure-activity relationship for BCC as immunomodulatory drugs. This is relevant in the biomedical field due to their attractiveness for selecting compounds to develop therapeutic tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126901
JournalJournal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Antibodies
  • Boron
  • Local and systemic immune response
  • Lymphocyte
  • Oral administration
  • Structure-activity relationship


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