CGET 616 Environmental Immunotoxicology and Reproductive Toxicology (2 credits)


CGET 501 Integrated Life Sciences or equivalent

Course Description:

The Environmental Immunotoxicology and Reproductive Toxicology course is broken down into two parts.

The first part is an introduction to the science of Immunotoxicology. There will be a general lecture on blood cells and the mammalian immune system, including detailed description of all three arms of the immune response (i.e. non-specific, cell-mediated, and humoral-mediated responses). There will also be descriptions of how toxic chemicals (in general) can impact normal immune system homeostasis (both systemic and pulmonary) to result in adverse health outcomes such as hypersensitivity, autoimmunity and immuno-suppression. Specific cellular/functional methodologies for determining the potential immunotoxicity of a given chemical will also be discussed. Particular environmental/occupational chemicals such as PAHs, air pollutants, and metals will be used as examples in both mammalian and non-mammalian species. Finally, Immunotoxicology as it relates to other scientific fields such as drug development and risk assessment will be covered.

The second part of the Environmental Immunotoxicology and Reproductive Toxicology course is an introduction to the area of Reproductive Toxicology and the new technologies that have been developed to study it. An introduction will be given on hormonally active agents and their mechanisms of action using estrogen receptor-mediated responses as a model. A few representative compounds that are found widely in the environment will be discussed as well as experiments that have been developed to decipher their mechanisms of action. Exposures, persistence and monitoring for these compounds will be covered. Routes of exposure, bioaccumulation, distribution and metabolism will be accentuated. Effects on reproduction and development in laboratory animal studies, human studies, and wildlife studies will also be covered. Finally, methods for studying changes in gene expression, both at the mRNA level and the protein levels, will be introduced and discussed.