Acetaminophen-induced immunosuppression associated with hepatotoxicity in mice

Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 2000;108(3-4):237-51.


We investigated the influence of acetaminophen (APAP), an analgesic and hepatotoxic agent, on the immune system in mice. The activity of serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase was markedly increased by about 200 fold compared to that of the vehicle control following intraperitoneal injection of 400 mg/kg of APAP. In vivo antibody-producing responses to SRBC was significantly inhibited by APAP in a dose-dependent manner, while in vivo T cell-independent antibody-producing responses to TNP-Ficoll was not inhibited. The addition of thymocytes from APAP-treated mice suppressed the response to SRBC in vitro. Thymocyte blastogenesis following mitogenic stimulation with concanavalin A was also inhibited by injection of APAP. The delayed-type hypersensitivity response and mixed lymphocyte reaction, which are used to evaluate cell-mediated immunity, were also significantly reduced after treatment with APAP. These results indicate that APAP suppresses the humoral and cell-mediated immune responses at a dose that causes liver injury.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / toxicity*
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / immunology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Immune Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / injuries
  • Liver / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Mitogens
  • Acetaminophen
  • Alanine Transaminase