Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

A Clearer View of TCE: Evidence Supports Autoimmune Link

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

A Clearer View of TCE: Evidence Supports Autoimmune Link

Article excerpt

More than 80 known or suspected autoimmune disorders--such as Crohn disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis--affect 5-8% of the U.S. population, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The underlying causes of these disorders remain largely unknown, but one agent suspected to play a role is trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent widely used in industrial and household applications. Researchers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Assessment and the Medical University of South Carolina searched the scientific literature for studies linking TCE with selected immunologic connections, including immunosuppression, hypersensitivity, and autoimmune-related effects [EHP 117:696-702; Cooper et al.]. On the basis of their review, the authors concluded that the evidence to date in mice and humans supports an etiologic role of TCE in autoimmune disorders.

Substantial evidence from mechanistic, clinical, and epidemiologic studies indicates that exposure to TCE and/or its metabolites (including chloral hydrate, trichloracetic acid, trichloracetaldehyde hydrate, and dichloracetyl chloride) could influence the incidence of autoimmune disorders. Research on autoimmune mouse models, including the [MRL.sup.+/+] lupus mouse, has provided strong and consistent support for a role of TCE; this has included studies of exposures at environmentally relevant concentrations through multiple routes (inhalational, dermal, and oral). …

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