PubMed 1281185

Title: Evidence for voltage modulation of IL-2 production in mitogen-stimulated human peripheral blood lymphocytes.

Authors: B D Freedman, M A Price, C J Deutsch

Journal, date & volume: J. Immunol., 1992 Dec 15 , 149, 3784-94

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The membrane potential of human PBMC was modulated in culture by isotonic high extracellular K+ (K+e), or the K+ channel blocker, charybdotoxin (ChTX), to determine the effect of depolarization on stimulated proliferation, IL-2 elaboration, and gene expression. In serum-free cultures, ChTX and high [K+]e induced a specific dose-dependent decrease in IL-2 production. ChTX inhibited proliferation of PBMC and purified T cells, decreased IL-2 elaboration 15 h after stimulation by 78.4 +/- 5.3% (n = 5), and decreased IL-2 mRNA steady-state levels by 80% between 8 and 10 h after stimulation. The IC50 for ChTX-inhibition of IL-2 elaboration and IL-2 mRNA were both 1 nM. Similarly, high [K+]e inhibited proliferation with an IC50 of 38.9 +/- 1.1 mM (n = 13), decreased IL-2 elaboration with an IC50 of 21.3 +/- 1.2 mM (n = 6), and decreased IL-2 mRNA steady-state levels with an IC50 of 18 mM. The sensitivities of both IL-2 production and proliferation to depolarization were substantially reduced by calcium, serum, and exogenous rIL-2. From these findings we conclude that membrane potential may contribute to the control of immune responsiveness in vivo.