In vitro effects of mycophenolic acid on cell cycle and activation of human lymphocytes

Clin Chim Acta. 2000 Oct;300(1-2):23-8. doi: 10.1016/s0009-8981(00)00297-7.


The immunosuppressant mycophenolic acid (MPA) selectively inhibits proliferation of T- and B-lymphocytes by blocking inosine 5'-monophosphate-dehydrogenase (IMPDH), the key enzyme for de-novo-synthesis of guanine nucleotides. In an in vitro study the effects of MPA on human peripheral blood lymphocyte activation markers and on cell cycle characteristics were investigated. Mononuclear cells from healthy volunteers were incubated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) and increasing doses of MPA. After 72 h incubation an aliquot of the cells was stained with propidium iodide and measured by FACS analyses to assess the DNA shape. In addition, the expression of the activation markers HLA-DR and CD25 on T- and B-lymphocytes was determined by flow cytometry analysis.PHA stimulation led to a significant increase of the S-phase of cell cycle. PHA stimulation clearly increased mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of HLA-DR expression on B-lymphocytes. PHA stimulation also elevated the number of CD25 positive B-lymphocytes. Expression of HLA-DR on T-lymphocytes was not influenced by PHA, whereas CD25 expression and MFI significantly increased. All the observed PHA induced effects were reduced by co-incubation with increasing doses of MPA. The data presented show that in vitro the immunosuppressive effect of MPA can be demonstrated using FACS technology on a cellular level. MPA leads to an inhibition of cell cycle proliferation in peripheral blood lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects*
  • Mycophenolic Acid / pharmacology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid