Stimulation of cocaine-inhibited lymphocyte responses by in vitro IL-2 treatment

P. Di Francesco, F. Pica, R. Gaziano, C. D'Agostini, A. T. Palamara, C. Favalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of in vitro recombinant interleukin-2 (IL-2) treatment on lymphocyte proliferation and Natural Killer (NK) cell activity inhibited by cocaine were examined. In lymphocytes activated by PHA (2 μg/ml), cocaine induced a decrease of [3H]-thymidine incorporation at the drug concentrations presented in the blood of addicts (0.1 μg/ml). This effect was not observed when IL-2 (500 U/ml) was present in the incubation medium. Interestingly, in non PHA-activated cells, cocaine had no effect on lymphoproliferative response to IL-2. Parallelly, in vitro addition of IL-2 (20, 200, 500 U/ml) promoted the reversal of the inhibition of NK cell cytotoxicity of spleen lymphocytes collected from cocaine immunosuppressed mice. We conclude that IL-2 can directly restore the deficient functions of lymphocytes inhibited by cocaine use/abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • cocaine
  • immunotherapy
  • interleukin 2
  • lymphocyte proliferation
  • natural killer activity immunosuppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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