The immunosuppressive drug mizoribine has been demonstrated to inhibit T lymphocyte proliferation by depleting these cells of guanine ribonucleotides as a consequence of inhibiting the enzyme inosine monophosphate (IMP) dehydrogenase. Because the immunosuppressive agents azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine (6MP) are both converted to the IMP analog 6-thio-IMP, we postulated that these drugs might inhibit T cell activation and/or proliferation by a similar mechanism. Incubation of isolated peripheral blood T cells with either mizoribine or the selective IMP dehydrogenase inhibitor mycophenolic acid caused a dose-dependent inhibition of T cell proliferation, which was reversible with the addition of 50 microM guanosine to replete guanine ribonucleotide pools. In contrast, guanosine exacerbated the inhibition of proliferation induced by azathioprine and restored proliferation at IC50 concentrations of 6MP by only 10%. Complete restoration of proliferation in the presence of 6MP, but not azathioprine, was achieved with the addition of adenine. The inhibitory effects of azathioprine, as well as those of mizoribine, 6MP, and mycophenolic acid, were identical in cells stimulated with antibody to the T cell receptor and in cells stimulated with phorbol ester and ionomycin. We conclude from these studies that mizoribine selectively inhibits guanine ribonucleotide formation in purified T cells, whereas the effect of 6MP appears to be more dependent on adenine ribonucleotide depletion. Azathioprine, on the other hand, inhibits proliferation by a mechanism independent of purine ribonucleotide depletion. None of these agents inhibits T cell proliferation by interfering with signal transduction mediated by the T cell receptor. Inhibition of guanine ribonucleotide biosynthesis appears to be a novel and perhaps more selective mechanism of inhibiting T cell proliferative responses after T cell activation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HP40500012
View details for PubMedID 1569921