Blocking of human T lymphocyte activation by channel antagonists

Maria Rosa Bono, Valeska Simon, Mario S. Rosemblatt

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17 Citations (Scopus)


It has been established that early events in lymphocyte activation involve a rise in intracellular Ca++ as well as changes in the flux of other ions. Although a Ca++ channel has been postulated to participate in the early Ca++ rise, its presence in lymphocytes remains controversial. Also although yet undetected, electrophysiological data suggest the presence of a Ca++ activated K+ channel on human peripheral blood lymphocytes (HPBL). Here we report on the effect of specific channel blockers as an approach to the identification of these channels on HPBL. At 40 nM nifedipine, an inhibitor of voltage‐gated Ca++ channels, fully inhibits the PHA‐promoted activation of HPBL. This effect is concentration dependant with a half maximum effect at approximately 10 nM and is demonstrable whether the drug is added at the same time as or up to 18 h after the addition of the mitogen. This inhibition of activation is not seen if the lymphocytes are activated using IL‐2 instead of PHA. Charybdotoxin a toxin which blocks a Ca++ activated K+ channel of muscle cells also blocks to almost 100 per cent the PHA‐induced activation of HPBL. This inhibition can be demonstrated regardless of whether the blocker is added together with or up to 4 h after PHA. As opposed to nifedipine charybdotoxin shows no effect if added 18 h after the initiation of the activation process. When nifedipine and charybdotoxin were tested on mice splenocytes we found that nifedipine fully inhibits the LPS‐promoted activation of these cells while charybdotoxin has no effect on their activation. Taken together these results strengthen the view regarding the participation of both a voltage‐gated Ca++ channel and a Ca++ activated K+ channel in human T lymphocyte activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-226
Number of pages8
JournalCell Biochemistry and Function
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1989


  • activation
  • calcium ions
  • ion channels
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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