Toxicogenomics-Based Identification of Mechanisms for Direct Immunitoxicity

J. Shao, M.R. Katika, P.C. Schmeits, P.J.M. Hendriksen, H. van Loveren, A.A.C.M. Peijnenburg, O.L. Volger

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    34 Citations (Scopus)


    Compounds with direct immunotoxic properties, including metals, mycotoxins, agricultural pesticides, and industrial chemicals, form potential human health risks due to exposure through food, drinking water, and the environment. Insights into the mechanisms of action are currently lacking for the majority of these direct immunotoxicants. Therefore, the present work aimed to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying direct immunotoxicity. To this end, we assessed in vitro the effects of 31 test compounds on the transcriptome of the human Jurkat T-cell line. These compounds included direct immunotoxicants, immunosuppressive drugs with different mode of actions, and nonimmunotoxic control chemicals. Pathway analysis of the microarray data allowed us to identify canonical pathways and Gene Ontology processes that were transcriptionally regulated in common by immunotoxicants (1) with structural similarities, such as tributyltin chloride and tributyltin oxide that activated the retinoic acid/X receptor signaling pathway and (2) without structural similarities, such as As2O3, dibutyltin chloride, diazinon, MeHg, ochratoxin A (OTA), S9-treated OTA, S9-treated cyclophosphamide, and S9-treated benzo[a]pyrene, which activated unfolded protein response, and FTY720, lindane, and propanil, which activated the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. In addition, processes uniquely affected by individual immunotoxicants were identified, such as the induction of Notch receptor signaling and the downregulation of acute-phase response genes by OTA. These findings were validated by quantitative real-time PCR analysis of genes involved in these processes. Our study indicated that diverse modes of action are involved in direct immunotoxicity and that a set of pathways or genes, rather than one single gene, can be used to screen compounds for direct immunotoxicity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)328-346
    Number of pages19
    JournalToxicological sciences
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • unfolded protein response
    • nf-kappa-b
    • endoplasmic-reticulum stress
    • blood mononuclear-cells
    • liver-x-receptor
    • proliferator-activated receptor
    • gene-expression profiles
    • in-vitro
    • ochratoxin-a
    • human-lymphocytes


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