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Assessment of immunotoxicity induced by chemicals in human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS)

: Lauenstein, L.; Switalla, S.; Prenzler, F.; Seehase, S.; Pfennig, O.; Förster, C.; Fieguth, H.; Braun, A.; Sewald, K.

Postprint (PDF; )

Toxicology in vitro 28 (2014), No.4, pp.588-599
ISSN: 0887-2333
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ITEM ()
respiratory sensitizer; contact sensitizer; pro-inflammatory cytokines; low-molecular-weight chemicals; Asthma; respiratory allergy

Occupational asthma can be induced by a number of chemicals at the workplace. Risk assessment of potential sensitizers is mostly performed in animal experiments. With increasing public demand for alternative methods, human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) have been developed as an ex vivo model. Human PCLS were exposed to increasing concentrations of 20 industrial chemicals including 4 respiratory allergens, 11 contact allergens, and 5 non-sensitizing irritants. Local respiratory irritation was characterized and expressed as 75% (EC25) and 50% (EC50) cell viability with respect to controls. Dose-response curves of all chemicals except for phenol were generated. Local respiratory inflammation was quantified by measuring the production of cytokines and chemokines. TNF-alpha and IL-1 alpha were increased significantly in human PCLS after exposure to the respiratory sensitizers trimellitic anhydride (TMA) and ammonium hexachloroplatinate (HC1Pt) at subtoxic concentrations, while contact sensitizers and non-sensitizing irritants failed to induce the release of these cytokines to the same extent. Interestingly, significant increases in T(H)1/T(H)2 cytokines could be detected only after exposure to HC1Pt at a subtoxic concentration. In conclusion, allergen-induced cytokines were observed but not considered as biomarkers for the differentiation between respiratory and contact sensitizers. Our preliminary results show an ex vivo model which might be used for prediction of chemical-induced toxicity, but is due to its complex three-dimensional structure not applicable for a simple screening of functional and behavior changes of certain cell populations such as dendritic cells and T-cells in response to allergens.