Evaluating Cytokines in Immunotoxicity Testing

  • Emanuela Corsini
  • Robert V. House
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1803)


One of the most powerful tools in immunotoxicology is the assessment of cytokines, the proteins/peptides responsible for regulating a variety of processes including immunity, inflammation, apoptosis, and hematopoiesis. Cytokine production measurements offer outstanding information and may eventually substitute for other more laborious procedures in the assessment of immunotoxicity. The particular profile of cytokine production provides indeed important information regarding the nature of many immunotoxic responses.

Recent expansion in the knowledge of cytokine biology and the realization that cytokines play a role in human diseases have created a need for the precise assessment and accurate interpretation of their presence and activity in body fluids, tissues, and cells. Proper evaluation of cytokines requires attention to several technical details. Multi-cytokine analysis still needs to be standardized in terms of optimum source for analysis, protocols, and quality control issues, such as the use of reference standards and the expression of results.

Important practical details and considerations will be discussed in this chapter, including the source of the sample to be tested (circulating fluids or ex vivo/in vitro isolated cells); the potential effects of collection, processing, and storage of the results of the assays, as well as potential variables associated with the source material (matrix effects, relevance, inhibitory substances); and factors influencing the choice of assay used (bioassay, immunoassay, molecular biology technique, flow cytometry).

Key words

Bioassay Cytokine ELISpot ELISA Immunoassay In vitro immunotoxicology PCR 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmacy, Department of Environmental Health and Policy, Laboratory of ToxicologyUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.DynPort Vaccine Company LLCFrederickUSA

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