Effect of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin on Th1 and Th2 immune responses in mice

J Pharm Sci. 2003 Aug;92(8):1723-9. doi: 10.1002/jps.10380.


The present study was undertaken to study the effect of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin on Th1 and Th2 immune responses. For this study, mice were immunized by s.c. injection of ovalbumin (OVA) emulsified with complete Freund's adjuvant into the base of the tail (day 0). Varying doses of indomethacin were orally administrated daily from days 0 to 20. On day 21, anti-OVA IgG2a and interferon-gamma as an indicator of Th1 responses and anti-OVA IgG1 and interleukin-10 as that of Th2 responses were measured. The results showed that treatment with indomethacin was followed by decreases in OVA-specific IgG and proliferation of spleen cells to the antigen. Indomethacin inhibited both Th1 and Th2 responses, although the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug suppressed the former more effectively than the latter. Administration of indomethacin resulted in suppression of antigen (OVA)-induced arthritis that was associated with inhibition of anti-OVA IgG2a but not IgG1 production. These results suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may downregulate Th1 and, to a lesser extent, Th2 immune responses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Indomethacin / administration & dosage
  • Indomethacin / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ovalbumin
  • Indomethacin