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Week_12_-_Methods_in_immunotoxicology - Week 12 Methods in...

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Week 12 - Methods in immunotoxicology Assays to Assess Immune System Function The immune system is possibly the most complex system in the body due to the diverse locations of lymphoid tissues and cells, and the large number of antibodies, cytokines, chemokines and other molecules that play critical roles in the immune response. Studying the immune response to toxicants is further complicated by its defiance of many of the basic rules of toxicology, including: Dose-response studies: Unlike most physiological systems, the immune system does not exhibit a classic dose-response relationship to most toxicants. The magnitude of the immune system response is usually based on the type of reaction elicited, as well as the history of prior exposure to the toxicant (in the case of acquired immune response-based reactions), not the concentration of the toxicant. Exposure: Quite often, repeated or chronic exposure is required for an immunotoxic reaction to take place. The severity of the response following multiple exposures is highly dependent on the antigen and the type of response it elicits. This is especially true when the acquired immune system is involved in the response, since the secondary response is of much greater magnitude than the primary response. Specificity : The immune system can have a similar response to a wide range of antigens, especially in the case of innate immune system responses. Conversely, small changes in the structure of a foreign compound can seriously alter its immunogenicity, since structure dictates the epitope that triggers the immune response. Site of action: Unlike most physiological systems, the immune system is diffuse in the location of its tissues and organs. Its ability to interact with tissues throughout the body can make it difficult to identify the site of action of the toxicant within the body. Despite the complicated nature of studying toxicity of the immune system, there are a number of in vitro and in vivo assays employed to study the immunotoxicity of foreign substances. General assessment of immune system function The most common animal model for immunotoxicity studies is the mouse, because 1) there is a large amount of information available on their immune response, 2) they are
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less expensive to maintain than larger animals, and 3) there are a large number of reagents, such as antibodies and cytokines, which are available for experimental use. In vivo
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Week_12_-_Methods_in_immunotoxicology - Week 12 Methods in...

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