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

Mercuric chloride, a chemical responsible for T helper cell (Th)2-mediated autoimmunity in brown Norway rats, directly triggers T cells to produce interleukin-4.

Mercurials may induce immune manifestations in susceptible individuals. Mercuric chloride (HgCl2) induced autoimmunity in the Brown Norway (BN) strain but an immuno-suppression in the Lewis strain with, however, autoreactive anti-class II T cells present in both strains. In the present study we looked at modifications of cytokine production by PCR and cytofluorometric analyses in normal BN and Lewis rat splenocytes, cultured with or without HgCl2. Unfractionated BN rat splenocytes and purified T cells exposed to HgCl2 expressed high levels of IL-4 mRNA. Increase in class II and CD23 molecule expression on B cells was partly inhibited by anti-IL-4 mAb showing that IL-4 was produced. By contrast, no overexpression of IL-4 mRNA could be seen in Lewis rats. Although an increase in class II molecule expression was observed suggesting that other T helper cell 2 cytokines were produced, there was also a concomitant decrease in CD23 molecule expression that was abrogated after addition of an anti-IFN-gamma mAb to the culture. IFN-gamma mRNA production was induced in unfractionated spleen cells and T cells from both strains after HgCl2 exposure. Altogether these findings demonstrate that HgCl2 has very early direct effects on cytokine production and that these effects differ depending on the strain. The early effect on IL-4 production observed on BN rat spleen cells and T cells may explain that the autoreactive anti-class II T cells that are found in HgCl2-injected BN rats have a Th2 phenotype.[1]

References

  1. Mercuric chloride, a chemical responsible for T helper cell (Th)2-mediated autoimmunity in brown Norway rats, directly triggers T cells to produce interleukin-4. Prigent, P., Saoudi, A., Pannetier, C., Graber, P., Bonnefoy, J.Y., Druet, P., Hirsch, F. J. Clin. Invest. (1995) [Pubmed]
 
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