Previously, we have reported that thalidomide (Thd) treatment can modulate the immune responses in female B6C3F1 mice. The present study was designed to evaluate whether or not these immunomodulatory responses were of sufficient magnitude to alter host resistances in a number of pathogen and tumor models. B6C3F1 mice were treated intraperitoneally with Thd (30-150 mg/kg) for 14 or 28 days, then inoculated with either Plasmodium yeolii, PYB6 fibrosarcoma tumor cells, B16F10 melanoma tumor cells, Listeria monocytogenes, or Streptococcus pneumoniae. Significant dose-dependent protection against B16F10 and L. monocytogenes was observed in mice that were treated with Thd. Furthermore, time course study using bacterial colony-forming units per spleen and liver as the endpoints indicated that the protective effect of Thd on host resistance to L. monocytogenes was time-dependent. In contrast, Thd treatment did not affect host resistance to P. yeolii, S. pneumoniae and PYB6 tumor. Additionally, the effect of Thd on the phagocytic function of the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS) was evaluated following intravenous injection of51Cr-labeled sRBCs. The overall phagocytic activity of MPS was not significantly altered by Thd treatment. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that Thd immunomodulation altered host resistance to B16F10 and L. monocytogenes; and selective modulation of Thd on the immune system may be responsible for the pathogen or tumor-specific effect of this compound. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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