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Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 1990 Dec;8(2):77-82.

The in vivo and in vitro effects of caffeine on rat immune cells activities: B, T and NK cells.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


The effect of caffeine (naturally occurring plant methylxanthine) on immunological cell activities in Sprague-Dawley rat both in vivo and in vitro was studied. A cytotoxic assay was done to study natural killer (NK) cells and a proliferation assay was performed for T and B cell activities. Three different doses of caffeine i.e., 2, 6 and 18 mg/kg/day were administered chronically to Sprague-Dawley rats to assess the effects in vivo. Both NK cell cytotoxicity and B cell proliferative response to pokeweed mitogen (PWM) showed significant decreases (P less than 0.05) in rats treated with 6 mg/kg/day, whereas the T cell proliferative response to phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P) was significantly increased (P less than 0.05) in the rats treated with 18 mg/kg/day. In vitro, caffeine significantly decreases (P less than 0.05) B and T cell proliferative responses to PWM and PHA-P at added caffeine concentrations of 10, 20 and 40 micrograms/ml. However, no effect was observed on NK cells activity. Furthermore, in vitro, a broader dose range of caffeine (1, 10, 100 and 1,000 micrograms/ml) exhibited dose-dependent inhibition of both B and T cell proliferative responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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