In vitro immunotoxicology and immunopharmacology: studies on drugs of abuse

Radhakrishna M. Pillai, Ronald R. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The application of immunotoxicology to the toxicologie assessment of drugs of abuse is a field of increasing importance. Interest in the effects of drugs of abuse on the immune system has greatly increased as a result of the AIDS epidemic. If drugs of abuse compromise the immune system, their use may well become a predisposing factor in the development or enhancement of AIDS in high-risk groups. Therefore development and validation of newer methods of assessment of immunotoxicology and their adaptation to routine analysis is an absolute necessity. An important feature in toxicology in general, and in immunotoxicology in particular, is the need to develop in vitro assessment systems. Recent research has provided newer models, data on correlations of immune function variables, and a better understanding of the biologic relevance of certain immune function parameters. This paper analyzes these features in relation to the role of drugs of abuse in the modulation and alteration of the immune system and reviews the various in vitro techniques that could be used to evaluate immunotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalToxicology letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1990


  • B-cells
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin synthesis
  • Natural killer cells
  • T-cells
  • Xenobiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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