Intracellular activity of clinical concentrations of phenothiazines including thioridiazine against phagocytosed Staphylococcus aureus

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2002 Jul;20(1):34-43. doi: 10.1016/s0924-8579(02)00110-3.


The effect of thioridazine (TZ) was studied on the killing activity of human peripheral blood monocyte derived macrophages (HPBMDM) and of human macrophage cell line THP-1 at extracellular concentrations below those achievable clinically. These macrophages have nominal killing activity against bacteria and therefore, would not influence any activity that the compounds may have against intracellular localised Staphylococcus aureus. The results indicated that whereas TZ has an in vitro minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) against the strains of S. aureus of 18, 0.1 mg/l of TZ in the medium completely inhibits the growth of S. aureus that has been phagocytosed by macrophages. The latter concentration was non-toxic to macrophages, did not cause cellular expression of activation marker CD69 nor induction of CD3+ T cell production of IFN-gamma, but blocked cellular proliferation and down-regulated the production of T cell-derived cytokines (IFN-gamma, IL-5). These results suggest that TZ induces intracellular bactericidal activities independent of the capacity to generate Type 1 responses against S. aureus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology
  • Blood Bactericidal Activity
  • Cell Line
  • Culture Media
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Macrophages / microbiology*
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Monocytes / microbiology*
  • Monocytes / physiology
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Phenothiazines / pharmacology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / microbiology
  • Thioridazine / pharmacology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Culture Media
  • Phenothiazines
  • Thioridazine