Antigenicity and immunogenicity of sulphamethoxazole

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Title Antigenicity and immunogenicity of sulphamethoxazole: demonstration of metabolism-dependent haptenation and T-cell proliferation in vivo
Author(s) D. J. Naisbitt, S. F. Gordon, M. Pirmohamed, C. Burkhart, Alastair E. Cribb, W. J. Pichler, B. K. Park
Journal British Journal of Pharmacology
Date 2001
Volume 133
Issue 2
Start page 295
End page 305
Abstract Sulphamethoxazole has been associated with the occurrence of hypersensitivity reactions. There is controversy as to whether the immune response is metabolism-dependent or -independent. We have therefore investigated the site of antigen formation and the nature of the drug signal presented to the immune system in vivo. Male Wistar rats were dosed with sulphamethoxazole, sulphamethoxazole hydroxylamine or nitroso sulphamethoxazole. Antigen formation on cell surfaces was determined by flow cytometry using a specific anti-sulphamethoxazole antibody. Immunogenicity was determined by assessment of ex vivo T-cell proliferation. Administration of nitroso sulphamethoxazole, but not sulphamethoxazole or sulphamethoxazole hydroxylamine, resulted in antigen formation on the surface of lymphocytes, splenocytes and epidermal keratinocytes, and a strong proliferative response of splenocytes on re-stimulation with nitroso sulphamethoxazole. Rats dosed with sulphamethoxazole or sulphamethoxazole hydroxylamine did not respond to any of the test compounds. CD4+ or CD8+ depleted cells responded equally to nitroso sulphamethoxazole. The proliferative response to nitroso sulphamethoxazole was seen even after pulsing for only 5 min, and was not inhibited by glutathione. Responding cells produced IFN-gamma, but not IL-4. Haptenation of cells by sulphamethoxazole hydroxylamine was seen after depletion of glutathione by pre-treating the rats with diethyl maleate. Splenocytes from the glutathione-depleted sulphamethoxazole hydroxylamine-treated rats responded weakly to nitroso sulphamethoxazole, but not to sulphamethoxazole or sulphamethoxazole hydroxylamine. Dosing of rats with sulphamethoxazole produced a cellular response to nitroso sulphamethoxazole (but not to sulphamethoxazole or its hydroxylamine) when the animals were primed with complete Freund's adjuvant. These studies demonstrate the antigenicity of nitroso sulphamethoxazole in vivo and provide evidence for the role of drug metabolism and cell surface haptenation in the induction of a cellular immune response in the rat.
DOI 10.1038/sj.bjp.0704074

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