Role of macrophages and inflammatory mediators in chemically induced toxicity

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127 Scopus citations


Macrophages are critical cellular effectors of nonspecific host defense. They are also potent secretory cells releasing an array of mediators including proinflammatory and cytotoxic cytokines and growth factors, bioactive lipids, hydrolytic enzymes and reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates, each of which has been implicated in tissue injury. The research in our laboratories has focused on analyzing the role of macrophages in chemically induced injury in the lung and the liver. In both these tissues, a localized accumulation of macrophages is observed following toxicant exposure. This is directly correlated with the generation of cytotoxic inflammatory mediators at these sites. Moreover, when macrophage functioning is blocked, pulmonary and hepatic injury induced by toxicants such as ozone or acetaminophen is prevented. These findings provide direct support for our hypothesis that macrophages contribute to tissue injury. Approaches using pharmacologic inhibitors and transgenic animals are currently being used to evaluate the specific macrophage-derived products involved in the pathogenic process. Our results suggest that the extent to which a particular mediator contributes to injury depends on the nature of the toxicant, the target tissue, and quantities of the mediator produced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Mar 7 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


  • Inflammatory mediators
  • Macrophages
  • Toxicity


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