Corticosteroid therapy suppresses spontaneous interleukin 2 release and spontaneous proliferation of lung T lymphocytes of patients with active pulmonary sarcoidosis

P. Pinkston, C. Saltini, J. Muller-Quernheim, R. G. Crystal

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Active pulmonary sarcoidosis is characterized by the alveolar accumulation of activated helper T lymphocytes that are spontaneously releasing IL 2 and proliferating at an enhanced rate. In this regard, sarcoidosis represents a 'model' human disorder to test in vivo the known in vitro action of corticosteroids on suppressing the activated IL 2 gene. Comparable groups of patients with active sarcoidosis were prospectively evaluated with no therapy or treated with corticosteroids. Over 3.2 ± 0.4 mo, the untreated group had no significant change in spontaneous lung T cell release of IL 2 or spontaneous proliferation. In contrast, over the same period, the treated group had marked reduction of spontaneous lung T cell release of IL 2 and proliferation (p < 0.01, all comparisons before therapy). Furthermore, Northern analysis of lung T cell RNA before therapy demonstrated IL 2 mRNA transcripts, whereas no IL 2 transcripts were observed during therapy. These observations are consistent with the concept that directly, or indirectly, corticosteroids are capable of suppressing the IL 2 gene in activated T lymphocytes in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-760
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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