Author(s): Colosio C, Birindelli S, Corsini E, Galli CL, Maroni M
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Abstract Industrialized countries are facing an increase of diseases attributable to an alteration of the immune system function, and concern is growing that this trend could be at least partially attributable to new and modified patterns of exposure to chemicals. Among chemicals matter of concern, pesticides can be included. The Authors have reviewed the existing evidence of pesticide immunotoxicity in humans, showing that existing data are inadequate to raise conclusions on the immunotoxic risk related to these compounds. The limits of existing studies are: poor knowledge on exposure levels, heterogeneity of the approach, and difficulty in giving a prognostic significance to the slight changes often observed. To overcome these limits, the Authors have proposed a tier approach, based on three steps: the first, addressed at pointing out a possible immunomodulation; the second, at refining the results and the third one, when needed, to finalize the study and to point out concordance with previous results. Studies should preferably be carried out through comparison of pre- and post-exposure findings in the same groups of subjects to be examined immediately after the end of the exposure. A simplification of the first step approach can be used by the occupational health physician and the occupational toxicologist. Conclusions on the prognostic significance of the slight changes often observed will be reached only by validating the hypothesis generated by field studies with an epidemiological approach. In this field, the most useful option is represented by longitudinal perspective studies.
This article was published in Toxicol Appl Pharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology