Immunotoxins - Autoimmunity - MS

What is immunotoxin?

As immunotoxin is relatively new term, not everybody knows what exactly it means

Luckily, it's definition is placed on Wikipedia:

An immunotoxin is a chemical that can cause immune system malfunction with exposure. When the immune system function is suppressed (immunosuppression) there is an increased susceptibility to infectious diseases and cancers. Polychlorinated-biphenyls (PCB), asbestos and herbicide DDT are known immunosuppressants. Immunotoxins can also cause autoimmune disease, where an overactive immune system attacks the bodies cells.

What substances are immunotoxic?

Researchers already did their job, so answer to this question is reasonably clarified

Good example of what scientists noticed is presented in article
Cancer and Immunological Effects


Because research testing for immunotoxicity has been limited, the number of substances known to be immunotoxic is relatively small, but may only represent the proverbial "tip of the iceberg"

Known or presumed developmental immunotoxins include:

Despite the fact that human data to support immune system effects are incomplete, the majority of researchers conclude that this is an important area for further research and critical evaluation of scientific evidence nonetheless

How immunotoxins affect immune system?

Answer to this question has been given in article
Immunotoxins as Teratogens:


The immune system is a frequent target organ of toxic insult following chronic or acute exposure to

Interaction of the immune system with these xenobiotics [substances found in an organism that is not normally produced or expected to be present in it] may result in undesirable effects of three principal types:

  1. immunosuppression
  2. immune deregulations (autoimmunity)
  3. immunologic response to the xenobiotic (allergy).

Source: National Toxicology Program. 1986 Annual Plan, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services The health implications of these immune dysfunctions are increased risk of infectious diseases; development of neoplasia [pathological process that results in the formation and growth of a tumour]; autoimmune disorders and allergies Source: Berlin, A.; Dean , J., et al. Preface. Immunotoxicology. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987

Immunologically active agents can be divided into immunodepressants and immunostimulants, but a more appropriate term would be immunomodulators since both immunodepressants and immunostimulants can produce paradoxical immune effects.

In fact, exposure to an immunodepressive xenobiotic may first be manifested by a form of immune hyperactivity since downregulatory cells may be more sensitive than helper-inducer immunocytes. Source: Spreafico, F.; Merendino, A.; et al. Immunodepressive Drugs As Prototype Immunotoxicants. Immunotoxicology. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1987. 193-207

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Above explanation tells us that:


Enough data to identify an underlying cause for any autoimmune disease (including Multiple Sclerosis) and cancer




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