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Chem Res Toxicol. 2003 Dec;16(12):1514-9.

Tolerogenic role of Kupffer cells in allergic reactions.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, USA. Cynthia.Ju@UCHSC.EDU


Drug-induced allergic reactions (DIARs), including allergic hepatitis, cutaneous reactions, and blood dyscrasias, are unpredictable and can be life threatening. Although current studies suggest that DIARs are caused by immunogenic drug-protein adducts, it remains unclear what factors determine the susceptibility to DIARs. We hypothesized that most individuals may be resistant to DIARs in part because they become immunologically tolerant to drug-protein adducts in the liver, an organ with tolerogenic properties. Because animal models of DIARs are elusive, we tested this hypothesis using a murine model of 2,4-dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB)-induced delayed type hypersensitivity reaction that is mediated by immunogenic 2,4-dinitrophenylated (DNP)-protein adducts. Intravenous pretreatment of mice with DNP-BSA led to its accumulation in hepatic Kupffer cells (KC) and induced immunological tolerance to subsequent DNCB sensitization. Tolerance could be abrogated by prior depletion of KC or induced in naïve mice by transferring a T cell-depleted, KC-enriched fraction of liver nonparenchymal cells from mice tolerized 1 month earlier by DNP-BSA pretreatment. These findings implicate KC as a primary and sustained inducer of tolerance against DNP-protein adducts and suggest a similar role in modulating allergic reactions against drug-protein adducts. Perhaps genetic and/or environmental factors affecting the activities of these cells may play a role in determining individual susceptibility to DIARs.

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