Immunotoxicology

Significant progress has occurred in the fields of basic and clinical immunology over the past 15 years, leading to the establishment and validation of sensitive methods for assessing immune system changes in humans as well as laboratory animals. Concern over the potential toxic effects of chemicals and certain drugs on the immune system prompted the application of these methods to assess the safety evaluation of the immune system and the establishment of the subdiscipline of immunotoxicology within toxicology. Immunotoxicology is the study of undesired modulation of the immune system by extrinsic factors. Toxicological assessments have demonstrated that the immune system is a target following exposure to a diverse group of xenobiotics including ultraviolet radiation, chemical pollutants, therapeutics, and recreational drugs. However, since xenobiotics may have effects on more than one aspect of immune function, immunotoxicity data should be evaluated separately for evidence of suppression, stimulation, hypersensitivity, and autoimmunity.

 

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