Full Title: Idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI): from molecular epidemiology to molecular medicine.
Authors: De Luca C, Scordo G, Cesareo E, Raskovic D, Genovesi G, Korkina L.
Publication: Indian Journal of Experimental Biology
Publication Date: July 2010
Laboratory of Tissue Engineering & Cutaneous Pathophysiology, Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata, Rome, Italy.
Inherited or acquired impairment of xenobiotics metabolism is a postulated mechanism underlying environment-associated pathologies such as multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, dental amalgam disease, and others, also collectively named idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI). In view of the poor current knowledge of their etiology and pathogenesis, and the absence of recognised genetic and metabolic markers of the diseases. They are often considered "medically unexplained syndromes",. These disabling conditions share the features of polysymptomatic multi-organ syndromes, considered by part of the medical community to be aberrant responses triggered by exposure to low-dose organic and inorganic chemicals and metals, in concentrations far below average reference levels admitted for environmental toxicants. A genetic predisposition to altered biotransformation of environmental chemicals, drugs, and metals, and of endogenous low-molecular weight metabolites, caused by polymorphisms of genes coding for xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, their receptors and transcription factors appears to be involved in the susceptibility to these environment-associated pathologies, along with epigenetic factors. Free radical/antioxidant homeostasis may also be heavily implicated, indirectly by affecting the regulation of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, and directly by causing increased levels of oxidative products, implicated in the chronic damage of cells and tissues, which is in part correlated with clinical symptoms. More systematic studies of molecular epidemiology, toxico- and pharmaco-genomics, elucidating the mechanisms of regulation, expression, induction, and activity of antioxidant/detoxifying enzymes, and the possible role of inflammatory mediators, promise a better understanding of this pathologically increased sensitivity to low-level chemical stimuli, and a solid basis for effective individualized antioxidant- and/or chelator-based treatments.