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Int J Immunopharmacol. 1987;9(5):539-49.

Purified podophyllotoxin (CPH-86) inhibits lymphocyte proliferation but augments macrophage proliferation.


Purified podophyllotoxin (CPH-86) is an inhibitor of microtubular aggregation used in the treatment of cancer, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. To better understand its immunopharmacology we examined its effects on human lymphocytes and monocytes and guinea pig macrophages. CPH-86 inhibits mitogen-induced human lymphocyte proliferation and macrophage growth factor-stimulated macrophage proliferation with ID50s of approximately 10(-7) M. The effect of CPH-86 on lymphocytes in conjunction with mitogen is nonlethal, evident during the early but not the late phases of proliferation, and associated with early increases in cyclic AMP levels. In contrast to these obviously inhibitory effects, CPH-86 (10(-7) M) alone induces IL-1 by human monocytes and, with mitogen, it induces IL-2 production by human lymphocytes. It directly stimulates macrophage proliferation and potentiates the effects of low doses of macrophage growth factor to do so. The latter effects may be mediated by colony stimulating factor production. The effects of CPH-86 are not mediated by inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. The stimulation of monokine and lymphokine production by CPH-86 may represent positive features of its action and may be immunotherapeutic.

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