Salmeterol enhances the inhibitory activity of dexamethasone on allergen-induced blood mononuclear cell activation

S. Oddera, M. Silvestri, R. Testi, G. A. Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The possibility that salmeterol could interfere with the inhibitory effect of glucocorticosteroids on allergen-induced activation of leukocytes was assessed in cultures of human blood mononuclear cells (BMCs). BMCs, recovered from 27 patients (21 ± 4 years of age) sensitized to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p), were incubated with a purified Der p extract (10 μg/ml) for 7 days in the presence of salmeterol (10-8 and 10-7 M) and/or dexamethasone (10-10 and 10-9 M). BMC proliferation and cytokine release were respectively tested by [3H]thymidine incorporation and EASIA. Stimulation with Der p extract induced a significant BMC proliferation (Der p 18.7 ± 1.9 cpm x 103, control 1.8 ± 0.3 cpm x 103, p <0.01) which was significantly inhibited both by salmeterol and dexamethasone (p <0.05, each comparison). The inhibition of BMC proliferation induced by dexamethasone (10-9 M) was significantly enhanced by salmeterol 10-7 M (p <0.05). Evaluation of cytokine levels in BMC supernatants showed that Der p extract significantly increased the release of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-2 (p <0.001, each comparison). Salmeterol (10-7 M) or dexamethasone (10-9 M) induced a similar, statistically significant, downregulation of GMCSF release (p <0.05, each comparison) and induced a slight, not significant, decrease in the production of IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-2 (p > 0.05, each comparison). Interestingly, salmeterol (10-7 M) significantly enhanced the inhibitory activity of dexamethasone (10-9 M) on the release of GM-CSF, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-2 (p <0.05, each comparison) but not of IFN-γ (p > 0.05). Thus β2-adrenoceptors may enhance the inhibitory activity of low doses of corticosteroids on allergen-induced BMC activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-204
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1998


  • β-adrenoreceptor agonists
  • Atopy
  • Cytokines
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
  • Glucocorticosteroids
  • Lymphocytes
  • Monocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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