Chow Sek Chuen

Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Med. Sc. (Karolinska Institute, Sweden)

Telephone: (+603) 5514 6000, ext: 46096 (DID: 5514 6096)
Room number: 4-8-13 (Building 4, Level 8, No. 13)

Disruption of immunity by xenobiotics is known to have profound effects on immune function. My interest lies mainly in the understanding of how xenobiotics modulate the immune system, particularly on T lymphocytes and their function. The T lymphocytes constitute one of many cellular components in the immune system and play an important role in the regulation of virtually all immune responses. Using various human and rodent model systems, the immunomodulatory effects of xenobiotics on many aspects of T cell biology, such as development, activation, differentiation, cellular homeostasis and apoptosis are being investigated. All these processes have defined endpoints that are tightly regulated by signaling pathways, metabolic processes and enzyme cascades. Understanding how these molecular processes are affected by xenobiotics helps to provide a better understanding in the development of new strategies for therapeutic intervention for some immunological disorders. Among these molecular processes, the mechanism and regulation of apoptosis is a long-standing interest in my laboratory. In the immune system apoptosis plays a fundamental role in the normal development of lymphocytes, killing processes mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer cells and maintenance of tissue homeostasis during the termination of immune responses. Because of this a number of diseases including most autoimmune and graft versus host diseases as well as AIDS are the direct result of either immunosuppression or hyperactivity of the immune system caused by inappropriate or deregulated apoptosis. In addition, many xenobiotics and infectious agents exert their immunotoxicity through the induction or inhibition of apoptosis in immune cells. Understanding these processes can provide insights into how some immunological diseases arise and offer opportunities to advance our knowledge on the molecular basis of infection and diseases in the immune system. This applies not only to immunological diseases but also to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Selected Journal Papers

K.Y. Liow, S.C. Chow, The cathepsin B inhibitor, z-FA-CMK is toxic and readily induced cell death in human T lymphocytes, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Volume 272, Issue 3, 1 November 2013, Pages 559-567, ISSN 0041-008X,

C.P. Lawrence and S.C. Chow (2012) Suppression of human T cell proliferation by the caspase inhibitors, z-VAD-FMK and z-IETD-FMK is independent of their caspase inhibition properties, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Volume 265, Issue 1, 15 November 2012, Pages 103-112, ISSN 0041-008X,

Ngui R, Lim YAL, Chong Kin L, Sek Chuen C, Jaffar S (2012) Association between Anaemia, Iron Deficiency Anaemia, Neglected Parasitic Infections and Socioeconomic Factors in Rural Children of West Malaysia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6(3): e1550. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001550