The mouse’s data shows that exposing a mouse to dioxin prevents its immune system from producing enough CTLs when injected with tumor cells.

Why is this research important to me?

Humans have the same kinds of cells in their immune system as animals do, and these cells have the same job of protecting us from infections and disease. By understanding how dioxin affects animal immune systems, we can better understand how dioxin might affect our own immune systems. However, these health effects depend on many factors including the amount of dioxin given to the animal, when the exposure took place, and, in some cases, the species of animal studied.

Research on the toxic effects of dioxin has been ongoing for a long time. Studies in animals have shown that the immune system can be suppressed by exposure to dioxin, leading to an impaired ability of the animals to fight off infections. Suppression of the immune response may also contribute to increased risk of cancer. This knowledge will help us to determine the safe level of exposure to dioxin more accurately and if necessary, how to treat accidental exposure more successfully.


Because it is not ethical to perform toxicology research on people, scientists use animals such as mice and other mammals whose bodies respond similarly to humans. These are called animal models. Scientists then make predictions about how a chemical will affect humans based on results of the animal tests.

Who Studies Immunotoxicology?