Halothane hepatitis is considered to be a result of an idiosyncratic autoimmune reaction brought about by the formation of neoantigens that have been generated by covalent binding of halothane biotransformation intermediates. The guinea pig is being examined as an animal model to investigate an immune-mediated mechanism for halothane hepatotoxicity. Male Hartley guinea pigs were exposed to 1% halothane/40% oxygen for 4 hr, three times with 40-day intervals. Kupffer cells and splenocytes were isolated from animals on various days after each halothane exposure. Splenocytes were cocultured in a lymphocyte transformation test with various concentrations of TFA(trifluoroacetylated)-antigens for 7 days and proliferation was measured by 3H-thymidine incorporation. In a second experiment, Kupffer cells were cocultured with autologous as well as allogeneic splenocytes with or without concanavalin A to determine whole cell sensitization and accessory function by Kupffer cells from treated animals. A 4-fold increase in splenocyte proliferation occurred in response to TFA-guinea pig albumin, No significant increase in proliferation could be detected with TFA-lysine or guinea pig albumin. A 14-fold increase in splenocyte proliferation also occurred in response to Kupffer cells from halothane-exposed animals, Autologous splenocytes demonstrated more of a response from treated versus control animals, indicating possible involvement of major histocompatibility complex II antigens. These results indicate recognition of TFA-antigens and Kupffer cells as antigen-presenting cells in halothane-exposed guinea pigs. This study provides good evidence that a cellular immune response is involved in the guinea pig after halothane exposure.
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