Mechanistic Overview of Immune Modulatory Effects of Environmental Toxicants
The immune system is an integrated organization, comprising of specific organs, cells and
molecules playing a crucial role in the maintenance of health. The purpose of this paper is to give a
mechanistic overview of toxic effects of various chemicals and pharmacological agents, and their interaction with the
various components of the immune system that leads to modulation of the immune responses. Studies suggest that many
chemical agents present in the environment like; heavy metals, agrochemicals, and various types of hydrocarbons possess
immune toxicity and cause either structural, functional or compositional changes in various components of the immune
system that alters immune response. There is present a complex bidirectional relationship between central nervous system
(CNS) and the immune system. And receptors for neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and hormones are located on
lymphoid organs. Therefore, we are of the opinion that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) present in our
environment may be indirectly involved in causing immune toxicity via neuroendocrine channels, and vice versa many
neurological disorders may be associated with environmental pollutants utilizing immuno-neuroendocrine pathways.
Keywords: Environmental pollutants, heavy metals, immunotoxicity, immunosuppression, pesticides.
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