Reports

Immune system impairment and hepatic fibrosis in mice lacking the dioxin-binding Ah receptor

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Science  05 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5211, pp. 722-726
DOI: 10.1126/science.7732381

Abstract

The aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor (AHR) mediates many carcinogenic and teratogenic effects of environmentally toxic chemicals such as dioxin. An AHR-deficient (Ahr-/-) mouse line was constructed by homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells. Almost half of the mice died shortly after birth, whereas survivors reached maturity and were fertile. The Ahr-/- mice showed decreased accumulation of lymphocytes in the spleen and lymph nodes, but not in the thymus. The livers of Ahr-/- mice were reduced in size by 50 percent and showed bile duct fibrosis Ahr-/- mice were also nonresponsive with regard to dioxin-mediated induction of genes encoding enzymes that catalyze the metabolism of foreign compounds. Thus, the AHR plays an important role in the development of the liver and the immune system.