The effect of nicotine on murine CD4 T cell responses

Shaobin Zhang, Thomas M. Petro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


T cells were exposed to various concentrations of nicotine or smokeless tobacco extract (STE) during in vitro immune responses in order to examine effects upon expression of T cell costimulatory counter-receptors, CD28 and CTLA-4, and cytokine production. Splenic mononuclear cells (SPM) were exposed to 1:102 to 1:103 dilutions of STE or 1-100 μg/ml nicotine during 48 and 72 h of stimulation with anti-CD3. Expression of CD28 and CTLA-4 was evaluated with flowcytometry and production and expression of IL-2, IL-4, IL-10 and IFN-γ were evaluated using ELISA and RT-PCR. The data here indicate that the percentage of CD4+ T cells expressing CD28 declined while percentage and intensity of CTLA-4 expression increased with exposure to a 1:102 dilution of STE during the T cell response. Exposure to nicotine decreased the percentage of CD4+ T cells expressing both CD28 and CTLA-4 and decreased the intensity of CD28 expression. Responding T cells exposed to nicotine produced significantly less Th1 cytokines, IL-2 and IFN-γ, but significantly more Th2 cytokines, IL-4 and IL-10. Cytokine specific mRNA expression was only slightly affected by the exposure to nicotine. Thus, exposure of T cells to physiological concentrations of STE or nicotine can alter the T cell expression of CD28 and CTLA-4, and the CD4 T cell cytokine expression pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopharmacology
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - 1996


  • CD28
  • CTLA-4
  • Cytokines
  • Mice
  • Nicotine
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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