Concurrent inflammation as a determinant of susceptibility to toxicity from xenobiotic agents

Toxicology. 2001 Dec 28;169(3):195-208. doi: 10.1016/s0300-483x(01)00523-6.


Sensitivity to the toxic effects of xenobiotic agents is influenced by a number of factors. Recent evidence derived from studies using experimental animals suggests that inflammation is one of these factors. For example, induction of inflammation by coexposure to bacterial endotoxin, vitamin A or Corynebacterium parvum increases injury in response to a number of xenobiotic agents that target liver. These agents are diverse in chemical nature and in mechanism of hepatotoxic action. Factors critical to the augmentation of liver injury by inflammation include Kupffer cells, neutrophils, cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and lipid mediators such as prostaglandins, but these may vary depending on the xenobiotic agent and the mechanisms by which it alters hepatocellular homeostasis. In addition, the timing of inflammagen exposure can qualitatively alter the toxic response to chemicals. Inflammation-induced increases in susceptibility to toxicity are not limited to liver. Concurrent inflammation also sensitizes animals to the toxic effects of agents that damage the respiratory tract, kidney and lymphoid tissue. It is concluded that inflammation should be considered as a determinant of susceptibility to intoxication by xenobiotic exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Susceptibility / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / drug effects
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism
  • Respiratory System / drug effects
  • Respiratory System / metabolism
  • Xenobiotics / toxicity*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Xenobiotics