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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evaluation of the skin sensitization potential of chemicals using expression of co-stimulatory molecules, CD54 and CD86, on the naive THP-1 cell line.

It has been known that dendritic cells (DCs) including Langerhans cells (LCs) play a critical role in the skin sensitization process. Many attempts have been made to develop in vitro sensitization tests that employ DCs derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC-DC) or CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (CD34+ HPC) purified from cord blood or bone marrow. However, the use of the DCs in in vitro methods has been difficult due to the nature of these cells such as low levels in the source and/or donor-to-donor variability. In our studies, we employed the human monocytic leukemia cell line, THP-1, in order to avoid some of these difficulties. At the start, we examined whether treatment of the cells with various cytokines could produce DCs from THP-1. Treatment of THP-1 cells with cytokines such as GM-CSF, IL-4, TNF-alpha, and/or PMA did induce some phenotypic changes in THP-1 cells that were characteristic of DCs. Subsequently, responses to a known sensitizer, dinitrochlorobenzene (DNCB), and a non-sensitizer, dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), on the expression of co-stimulatory molecules, CD54 and CD86, were examined between the naive cells and the cytokine-treated cells. Interestingly, the naive THP-1 cells responded only to DNCB and the response to the sensitizer was more distinct than cytokine-treated THP-1 cells. Similar phenomena were also observed in the human myeloid leukemia cell line, KG-1. Furthermore, with treatment of DNCB, naive THP-1 cells showed augmented expression of HLA, CD80 and secretion of IL-1 beta. The response of THP-1 cells to a sensitizer was similar to that of LCs/DCs. Upon demonstrating the differentiation of monocyte cells in our system, we then evaluated a series of chemicals, including known sensitizers and non-sensitizers, for their potential to augment CD54 and CD86 expression on naive THP-1 cells. Indeed, known sensitizers such as PPD and 2-MBT significantly augmented CD54 and CD86 expression in a dose-dependent manner while non-sensitizers, such as SLS and methyl salicylate (MS), did not. To note, the metal allergens such as (NH(4))(2)[PtCl(4)], NiSO(4) and CoSO(4) augmented significantly only CD54 expression. Taking advantage of a cultured cell line, measurement of the co-stimulatory molecules, CD54 and CD86, on naive THP-1 cells following chemical exposure shows promise for the development of a simple, short-term in vitro sensitization test.[1]


  1. Evaluation of the skin sensitization potential of chemicals using expression of co-stimulatory molecules, CD54 and CD86, on the naive THP-1 cell line. Yoshida, Y., Sakaguchi, H., Ito, Y., Okuda, M., Suzuki, H. Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA. (2003) [Pubmed]
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