Lidocaine and its analogues inhibit IL-5-mediated survival and activation of human eosinophils

Shinji Okada, John B. Hagan, Masahiko Kato, Jennifer L. Bankers-Fulbright, Loren W. Hunt, Gerald J. Gleich, Hirohito Kita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Eosinophils and cytokines active on eosinophils, especially IL-5, are believed to be critically involved in chronic allergic diseases. IL-5 activates eosinophils and enhances their survival in vitro by delaying apoptosis. In this study, we found that lidocaine and six analogues blunt responses of eosinophils to IL-5. Lidocaine and its derivatives inhibit IL- 5-mediated eosinophil survival in a concentration-dependent manner (IC50 = 110 μM for 30 pg/ml IL-5). At suboptimal lidocaine concentrations, the eosinophil survival response to IL-5 shifts and more IL-5 is required to maintain survival. The inhibitory effect requires at least 24-h exposure of eosinophils to lidocaine, and the protein kinase C activator, PMA, completely reverses the inhibition. A multiparameter flow-cytometric analysis shows that lidocaine hastens the apoptosis of eosinophils normally delayed by IL-5. Lidocaine does not affect IL-5R expression or IL-5-induced protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Lidocaine also inhibits eosinophil survival mediated by IL- 3 or granulocyte-macrophage CSF, although less potently than that mediated by IL-5. Furthermore, lidocaine inhibits eosinophil superoxide production stimulated by IL-5, granulocyte-macrophage CSF, or IL-3, but not that stimulated by platelet-activating factor, immobilized IgG, or PMA. Lidocaine and its derivatives show novel immunomodulatory properties and are able to blunt eosinophil responses to cytokines in addition to their local anesthetic or antiarrhythmic properties. Thus, lidocaine and its derivatives may represent a new class of therapeutic agents to treat patients with allergic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4010-4017
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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