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J Immunopharmacol. 1985;7(4):451-66.

The effect of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-hydroxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on T-lymphocyte and B-lymphocyte mitogen responses.


Previous studies have shown that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) suppresses T-lymphocyte proliferation when added to human cell cultures. We report that THC when added to mouse splenocyte cultures suppressed T-lymphocyte (Con A, PHA) and B-lymphocyte (LPS) mitogen-induced proliferation. Although the ED50 concentrations (5 micrograms/ml; 1.6 X 10(-5)M) of THC were similar for suppressing all three mitogen responses, higher threshold concentrations of drug were required to effect suppression of the T-lymphocyte mitogen responses. Complete suppression of T- and B-lymphocyte responses was achieved with THC concentrations (8 micrograms/ml or 2.6 X 10(-5)M) which were not directly toxic as judged by vital dye exclusion. The hydroxylated metabolite of THC, 11-hydroxy-THC, was observed to be much less potent in the inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation. However, as with the parent compound, B-lymphocyte responses appeared to be the most affected by the drug. Additional studies demonstrated that both T- and B-lymphocyte proliferation is rapidly suppressed following THC treatment, not affected by a 24 hr. pretreatment with THC, and not as readily suppressed by THC in cultures containing 20% serum. Thus, THC appears to inhibit both T- and B-lymphocyte proliferation with B-lymphocyte responses displaying greater inhibition at lower drug concentration. The 11-hydroxy metabolite is much less suppressive in this system than the parent compound.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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