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Hum Immunol. 2002 Jul;63(7):524-33.

Diltiazem impairs maturation and functions of human dendritic cells.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Chirurgia Generale P.Stefanini, Universit√† La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


The aim of this study was to define the effects of diltiazem, a calcium antagonist drug used in cardiology and in clinical transplantation, on the differentiation and maturation of human dendritic cells (DC). Herein, we demonstrate that diltiazem, in association with granulocyte macrophage-colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-4 (IL-4), induces monocytes to differentiate into cells with many of the characteristic of DC. However, diltiazem-induced DC express high levels of mannose receptor and Fc gamma RII and, consequently, manifest a higher endocytic activity compared with GM-CSF+IL-4-induced DC. Importantly, diltiazem-induced DCs have an impaired responsiveness to lipopolysaccharide and CD40 ligand because they produce decreased levels of IL-12 and reveal a reduced ability to stimulate alloreactive T-cell responses as well as in inducing interferon-gamma producing Th1 cells. These effects may contribute to a decreased DC-dependent T-cell activation and may help to explain the immunoregulatory function of diltiazem and its effectiveness in preventing transplant rejection.

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