Several metals have been known for a long time to be associated with immune-mediated pathological effects. These effects may be classified into two categories. Hypersensitivity reactions are the consequence of either cell-mediated or antibody (humoral)-mediated reactions against the metal which behave as a hapten. These manifestations represent an exageration of a normal immune response against an exogenous antigen. Autoimmune reactions represent quite different situations where the immune response, again either cell- or antibody-mediated, is directed against an autoantigen. In this review the second situation will be mainly considered. Before that the basis of the normal immune response will be summarized.
KeywordsAntigen Present Cell Contact Dermatitis Mercuric Chloride Susceptible Strain Exogenous Antigen
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