Author(s): Esser C
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Abstract Intrinsic and induced cell differentiation and the cellular response to endogenous and exogenous signals are hallmarks of the immune system. Specific and common signalling cascades ensure a highly flexible and adapted response. Increasing evidence suggests that gene modulation by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a ligand-activated transcription factor, is an important part of these processes. For decades the AhR has been studied mainly for its toxic effects after artificial activation by man-made chemical pollutants such as dioxins. These studies gave important, albeit to some extent skewed, evidence for a mechanistic link between the AhR and the immune system. AhR null mutants and other mutants of the AhR signalling pathway have been generated and used to analyse the physiological function of the AhR, including for the developing and antigen-responding immune system. In this review I look at the natural immunological function(s) of the AhR.
This article was published in Biochem Pharmacol
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research