Inhibition of T cell-mediated cytotoxicity by anti-inflammatory steroids

R. P. Schleimer, A. Jacques, H. S. Shin, L. M. Lichtenstein, M. Plaut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have tested the capacity of glucocorticoids to modulate the effector function of splenic cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) obtained after i.p. immunization with allogeneic cells. Although acute exposure of glucocorticoids did not inhibit the activity of freshly obtained splenic CTL, preincubation of these CTL for several hours with subnanomolar concentrations of several different glucocorticoids caused a marked inhibition. The relative inhibitory potency of the steroids tested correlated with their reported activity both in glucocorticoid receptor binding assays and in assays of anti-inflammatory potency in man. The inhibitory effects of low concentrations (10-10 M to 10-9 M) of dexamethasone were reversed by human or mouse interleukin 2 (IL 2)-containing supernatants, but were not reversed by IL 1-containing supernatants. The inhibitory effects of higher concentrations (10-8 M to 10-7 M) of dexamethasone could not be reversed even by very high doses of mouse IL 2. In contrast to previous reports of minimal direct glucocorticoid effects of CTL activity, the present results suggest that after preincubation, splenic CTL from in vivo-immune mice are sensitive to inhibition by glucocorticoids, and that the glucocorticoids may act both indirectly (on Il 2 production) and directly on the CTL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-271
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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