Glucocorticoid suppression of human lymphocyte DNA synthesis: influence of phytohemagglutinin concentration

George B. Segel, Aron Lukacher, Bruce R. Gordon, Marshall A. Lichtman

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8 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids have been shown to suppress lectin-stimulated lymphocyte DNA synthesis in some studies, whereas in other studies, the hormones have had little effect. We have found that the position on the PHA dose-response curve that is studied is the most important determinant of whether cortisol inhibits 3H-thymidine incorporation into lymphocyte DNA. The proportion of monocytes in culture also influenced the cortisol effect, but it was quantitatively less important than PHA concentration. Cortisol (5 nM to 100 μM) had little effect on blastogenesis or thymidine incorporation into DNA in cultures that contained both a high concentration (14% ± 2 (S.E.)) of monocytes and a concentration of PHA (0.6 to 1.2 μg/ml) that produced maximal stimulation of mitogenesis. When monocytes were reduced from 14% to 1.4%, cortisol (5 μM) caused a 30% reduction in thymidine incorporation in cultures stimulated by 0.6 to 1.2 μg/ml PHA. Much greater cortisol suppression of thymidine incorporation occurred if the concentration of PHA was reduced. For example, reduction of the PHA concentration from 1.2 to 0.075 μg/ml resulted in an increase in suppression by 5 μM cortisol from 5% to 90% even in the presence of 14% monocytes. These data indicate that the suppressive effects of glucocorticoids on blastogenesis and thymidine incorporation in vitro depend principally on the concentration of PHA used to stimulate blastogenesis and secondarily on the proportion of monocytes in the culture system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-632
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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