In an effort to determine the impact of halothane anesthesia on certain human cell-mediated immune functions, normal, purified human monocytes and lymphocytes were exposed to halothane in vitro at varying concentrations for up to 8 hours. Subsequently, these human effector cells were analyzed for their ability to function in several cell-mediated immunologic assays. Natural killer cell activity against K-562 was unaffected by halothane in most of the donors tested. Similarly, the ability of purified monocytes to inhibit MBL-2 tumor cell growth was unchanged. Halothane appeared to decrease the proliferative response of lymphocytes to phytohemagglutinin (PHA) in approximately 50% of the normal donors tested. In contrast, the ability of monocytes to lyse antibody-coated red cell targets (ADCC) was unaffected by even maximal exposure to halothane. Of interest was the finding that human monocytes exposed to as low as 2% halothane anesthesia for 4 hours displayed a dramatic down-regulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) release. Since it is known that hydrogen peroxide and other incompletely reduced forms of oxygen secreted by monocytes can play a major role in the antimicrobial, antitumor, and inflammatory functions of these cells, this finding may help explain the enhanced susceptibility of post-operative patients to infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy