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Int J Immunopharmacol. 1996 Dec;18(12):739-48.

Differential regulation of TNF alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF beta, and IL-10 by pentoxifylline.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Hématologie, C.H.R. Robert Debré, Reims, France.


Pentoxifylline (PTX) is a methylxanthine drug known to inhibit the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha), which plays a key role in inflammation. Recent studies also revealed that other cytokines may be inhibited by PTX. We investigated PTX effects on production and mRNA expression of TNF alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF beta and IL-10. Cytokine release was studied in 1/10 diluted whole blood culture (WB) and in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) culture. Cytokine production was triggered in both culture systems by endotoxin (LPS) or by phorbol ester (PMA) plus phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Our results showed that expression and production of TNF alpha and TNF beta were inhibited by PTX in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, we observed that depending on the way of activating cells, PTX induced an up- or a down-regulation (in PMA + PHA or LPS stimulated cells, respectively) for IL-1 and IL-6 release. We also noted that the effects of PTX on IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10 production were different in WB and in PBMC culture. In conclusion PTX acts on cytokine in a complex manner depending on cellular environment and on the method of activation.

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