Author(s): Koller LD
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Abstract Immunotoxicology is a science which deals with the effects of physical and chemical agents and other toxic substances on the immune system. The discipline includes study of the detection, occurrence, adverse effects, and mechanisms of chemically-induced immune dysfunction. Many drugs and chemicals are known to compromise the immune response of a host which is extremely vulnerable and sensitive to perturbation by these agents. The consequences of immune dysfunction may be expressed in reduced resistance to infectious and neoplastic diseases, or enhanced hypersensitivity and autoimmunity. The immunomodulating profiles of xenobiotics may be diverse, involving several components of the immune system, or they may selectively compromise an individual compartment of the immune response. Many drugs and chemicals are known to result in immune disregulation in animals, but a paucity of information is available to indicate the effects of xenobiotics on systemic immunity in humans. Epidemiological studies and research designed to assess chemical immunomodulation in man are necessary to confirm animal data. Further, a definitive diagnosis for chemically-induced immune dysfunction must include several etiologies and body organ systems, since a triad of reciprocal interactions exists between the immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems.
This article was published in Toxicol Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology