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Cell Immunol. 2001 Dec 15;214(2):184-93.

The COX-2 inhibitor NS-398 causes T-cell developmental disruptions independent of COX-2 enzyme inhibition.

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  • 1Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for Biomedical Research, American Red Cross, Rockville, MD 20855, USA.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit the function of cyclooxygenases, COX-1 and COX-2, which catalyze the first step in the synthesis of inflammatory mediators (PGE2). We sought to understand the roles of cyclooxygenases and NSAIDs in T-cell development. Our data show no significant defects in T-cell development in fetal thymic organ cultures of mice disrupted in both or either COX genes or in mice disrupted in either EP-1 or EP-2 receptor genes. On the other hand, NSAIDs reproducibly caused thymocyte developmental defects. However, the specific effects of the COX-2 inhibitors were not correlated with their potency for inhibition of COX-2 activity. We focused on the NS-398 COX-2 inhibitor and showed that its effects could not be reversed by exogenous PGE2. Furthermore, NS-398 was inhibitory even when its target, COX-2, was absent. These data show that the T-cell developmental effects of NS-398 are COX-2 and PGE2 independent.

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