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Altered Cytokine (receptor) MRNA Expression As A Tool In Immunotoxicology.
R. Vandebriel, H. van Loveren, C. Meredith
Published 1998 · Medicine, Biology
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Molecular immunotoxicology is aimed at analysing exposure effects on the temporal expression of important immunoregulatory genes. Cytokines play key roles in the immune system and thus molecular immunotoxicology has focused on the analysis of cytokine (expression) levels. These targets offer important new avenues to explore both in terms of mechanistic understanding of immunotoxicity and in terms of developing new assays and tests for predicting the immunotoxic potential of novel compounds. Effects on cytokine levels can be analysed on two different levels, these being mRNA and protein. The choice essentially depends on the aim of the study. Proteins comprise the biological activity so they are a more direct measure than mRNA. mRNA on the other hand, measures at a specific point in time within a tissue or organ, whereas protein is measured in a body fluid, possibly as a spill-over from tissue, or in a supernatant as a summation over a culture period. mRNA levels are assayed using Northern or dot blotting that both comprise hybridisation and using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Although the latter technique has both enormous sensitivity and relative ease of operation as important advantages, it requires much more effort in terms of quantitation. References to the nucleic acid sequences of human, murine, and rat cytokines and their receptors are presented (with accession numbers). Examples in which molecular techniques were successfully employed to assess immunotoxicity and (in some cases) understand mechanisms of action are also presented.
This paper references
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