We established a luciferase reporter assay system, the Multi-ImmunoTox Assay (MITA), which can evaluate the effects of chemicals on the promoter activities of four cytokines: IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-1β, and IL-8. We previously reported that MITA correctly reflected the change in mRNA of human whole-blood cells treated with dexamethasone, cyclosporine, FK506, or several other immunosuppressive drugs. In this study, we combined MITA with the IL-8 Luc assay to detect skin sensitization chemicals (OECD 442E) (modified MITA: mMITA) and established a data set of 60 chemicals examined by mMITA. Using the mMITA results, chemicals can be classified based on the lowest observed effect level (LOEL) of chemicals in suppressing or augmenting the promoter activities of the four cytokines. Moreover, we demonstrated that K-means clustering and hierarchical clustering of the 60 chemicals based on the LOEL for their effects on IL-2 and IL-8 promoter activities and the judgment by the IL-8 Luc assay resulted in the same 6-cluster solution: cluster 1 with preferential suppression of IL-8, cluster 2 with suppression of IL-2 and a positive IL-8 Luc assay result, cluster 3 with suppression of both IL-2 and IL-8, cluster 4 with no effects on IL-2 or IL-8 and a negative IL-8 Luc assay result, cluster 5 with suppression of both IL-2 and IL-8 and a negative IL-8 Luc assay result, and cluster 6 with preferential suppression of IL-8. These data suggest that mMITA is a promising novel high-throughput approach for detecting unrecognized immunological effects of chemicals and for profiling their immunotoxic effects.
- Alternatives to animals
- Reporter assay