Overlapping gene expression profiles of model compounds provide opportunities for immunotoxicity screening.

K.A. Baken*, J.L. Pennings, M.J. Jonker, M. M. Schaap, A. de Vries, H. van Steeg, T.M. Breit, H. van Loveren

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In order to investigate immunotoxic effects of a set of model compounds in mice, a toxicogenomics approach was combined with information on macroscopical and histopathological effects on spleens and on modulation of immune function. Bis(tri-n-butyltin)oxide (TBTO), cyclosporin A (CsA), and benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) were administered to C57BL/6 mice at immunosuppressive dose levels. Acetaminophen (APAP) was included in the study since indications of immunomodulating properties of this compound have appeared in the literature. TBTO exposure caused the most pronounced effect on gene expression and also resulted in the most severe reduction of body weight gain and induction of splenic irregularities. All compounds caused inhibition of cell division in the spleen as shown by microarray analysis as well as by suppression of lymphocyte proliferation after application of a contact sensitizer as demonstrated in an immune function assay that was adapted from the local lymph node assay. The immunotoxicogenomics approach applied in this study thus pointed to immunosuppression through cell cycle arrest as a common mechanism of action of immunotoxicants, including APAP. Genes related to cell division such as Ccna2, Brca1, Birc5, Incenp, and Cdkn1a (p21) were identified as candidate genes to indicate anti-proliferative effects of xenobiotics in immune cells for future screening assays. The results of our experiments also show the value of group wise pathway analysis for detection of more subtle transcriptional effects and the potency of evaluation of effects in the spleen to demonstrate immunotoxicity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-59
    JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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