Assessment of immunotoxicity using precision-cut tissue slices

Xenobiotica. 2013 Jan;43(1):84-97. doi: 10.3109/00498254.2012.731543. Epub 2012 Nov 16.


1.When the immune system encounters incoming infectious agents, this generally leads to immunity. The evoked immune response is usually robust, but can be severely perturbed by potentially harmful environmental agents such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and allergens. 2.Immunosuppression, hypersensitivity and autoimmunity may occur due to changed immune activity. Evaluation of the immunotoxic potency of agents as part of risk assessment is currently established in vivo with animal models and in vitro with cell lines or primary cells. 3.Although in vivo testing is usually the most relevant situation for many agents, more and more in vitro models are being developed for assessment of immunotoxicity. In this context, hypersensitivity and immunosuppression are considered to be a primary focus for developing in vitro methods. Three-dimensional organotypic tissue models are also part of current research in immunotoxicology. 4.In recent years, there has been a revival of interest in organotypic tissue models. In the context of immunotoxicity testing, precision-cut lung slices in particular have been intensively studied. Therefore, this review is very much focused on pulmonary immunotoxicology. Respiratory hypersensitivity and inflammation are further highlighted aspects of this review. Immunotoxicity assessment currently is of limited use in other tissue models, which are therefore described only briefly within this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Allergens / pharmacokinetics
  • Allergens / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects
  • Immunotoxins* / immunology
  • Immunotoxins* / pharmacokinetics
  • Immunotoxins* / pharmacology
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung / pathology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Tissue Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Xenobiotics* / immunology
  • Xenobiotics* / pharmacokinetics
  • Xenobiotics* / pharmacology


  • Allergens
  • Immunotoxins
  • Xenobiotics