Neurotransmitter suppression of the in vitro generation of a cytotoxic T lymphocyte response against the syngeneic MOPC-315 plasmacytoma

J. M. Cook-Mills, M. B. Mokyr, R. L. Cohen, R. L. Perlman, D. A. Chambers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that, as a consequence of low-dose melphalan (l-phenylalanine mustard (l-PAM) therapy, the hitherto immunosuppressed spleen cells from BALB/c mice bearing a large MOPC-315 tumor (in contrast to spleen cells from normal mice) acquire the ability to generate a greatly enhanced anti-MOPC-315 cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response upon in vitro stimulation with MOPC-315 tumor cells. Here we show that the catecholamines norepinephrine, epinephrine, and isoproterenol suppressed the in vitro generation of anti-MOPC-315 cytotoxicity by spleen cells from mice that had just completed the eradication of a large MOPC-315 tumor following low-dose l-PAM therapy (l-PAM TuB spleen cells), as well as by spleen cells from normal mice. In contrast to the marked suppression obtained with catecholamines, the cholinergic agonist carbachol had no effect on the in vitro generation of splenic anti-MOPC-315 cytotoxicity. The inhibitory effect of the catecholamines was "mimicked" by the membranepenetrating analog of cAMP, dibutyryl-cAMP, and by cholera toxin at concentrations that stimulate the endogenous production of cAMP. The β-adrenergic receptor antagonist propranolol did not block norepinephrine-induced inhibition of the generation of anti-MOPC-315 cytotoxicity by either normal or l-PAM TuB spleen cells. Since the curative effectiveness of low-dose l-PAM therapy for MOPC-315 tumor bearers requires the participation of CD8+ T cells that exploit a CTL response in tumor eradication, it is conceivable that norepinephrine may reduce the therapeutic outcome of low-dose chemotherapy by inhibiting the acquisition of CTL activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Immunology Immunotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1995


  • CTL
  • Catecholamine
  • Low-dose chemotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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