In vitro and ex vivo effects of cyclosporin a on phagocytic host defenses against Aspergillus fumigatus

Roilides, E.; Robinson, T.; Sein, T.; Pizzo, P.A.; Walsh, T.J.

Antimicrobial Agents and ChemoTherapy 38(12): 2883-2888


ISSN/ISBN: 0066-4804
PMID: 7695277
DOI: 10.1128/aac.38.12.2883
Accession: 008833498

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Because cyclosporin A (CsA) is extensively used as an immunosuppressive agent, its effects on phagocytic defenses against Aspergillus fumigatus were studied in vitro and ex vivo. After incubation with 10 to 250 ng of CsA per ml at 37 degrees C for 60 min, polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) exhibited unaltered superoxide anion (O2-) production in response to phorbol myristate acetate and N-formylmethionyl leucyl phenylalanine, whereas > or = 500 ng/ml significantly suppressed it (P < 0.01). Moreover, at < 250 ng of CsA per ml, PMNs exhibited no change in their capacity to damage unopsonized hyphae of A. fumigatus compared with controls, whereas at > or = 250 ng/ml, CsA suppressed the function (P < 0.01). Although neither CsA (250 ng/ml) nor hydrocortisone (10 micrograms/ml) suppressed PMN O2- production in response to phorbol myristate acetate and N-formylmethionyl leucyl phenylalanine, combination of the two agents reduced the function compared with that at the baseline (P < 0.05). Incubation of monocytes with 100 ng of CsA per ml for 1 or 2 days suppressed their antihyphal activity. No essential change in phagocytic activity of monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) against A. fumigatus conidia, tested as the percentage of phagocytosing MDMs and average number of MDM-associated conidia, was detected after 2 or 4 days of incubation with 10 to 1,000 ng of CsA per ml. Furthermore, in rabbits treated with CsA (up to 20 mg/kg of body weight per day intravenously for 7 days), neither O2- production and hyphal damage caused by PMNs or monocytes against hyphae nor phagocytosis of conidia by pulmonary alveolar macrophages was significantly suppressed. Thus, these results demonstrated that CsA within therapeutically relevant concentrations does not suppress antifungal activity of phagocytes except that of circulating monocytes. However, it may induce significant immunosuppression of phagocytes' antifungal function at relatively high concentrations in vitro, especially when combined with corticosteroids.