Cyclosporin A inhibits initiation but not progression of human T cell proliferation triggered by phorbol esters and calcium ionophores

N. Kumagai, S. H. Benedict, G. B. Mills, E. W. Gelfand

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    Cyclosporin A (CsA) is a potent inhibitor of T lymphocyte proliferation induced by Ag and mitogens. In an attempt to further delineate the mechanism of action of CsA, we have examined its effects on T cell proliferation induced by the combination of the phorbol ester, phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDB), and the calcium ionophore, ionomycin. T cells were rendered competent as the result of a 30-min initial incubation with both drugs, after which the drugs were washed out. Competence is defined as the ability to subsequently proliferate in response to exogenously added IL-2 or PDB in the second phase of the culture, but not to synthesize IL-2 or proliferative without these additions. Addition of CsA (1 μg/ml) to the cells in the initial, competence-inducing 30-min incubation with PDB/ionomycin abrogated their subsequent response to IL-2 or PDB. In contrast, addition of CsA to cells after they had been treated for 30 min with PDB/ionomycin and then washed did not affect their responses to subsequent addition of either IL-2 or PDB. Treatment with CsA during induction of competence prevented the expression of the 55-kDa IL-2R gene during competence induction and inhibited IL-2 gene expression and IL-2 production in response to PDB in the second phase. These results indicate that the effects of CsA are limited to the initiation (competence induction) period of T cell activation, that CsA apparently affects expression of more than one gene, and in competent cells, CsA does not affect their ability to progress to DNA synthesis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3747-3752
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Dec 1 1988


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology and Allergy
    • Immunology

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