Introduction: Inflammation is crucially involved in a variety of diseases like autoimmune syndromes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, sepsis and allograft rejection.
Methods: Freshly isolated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are used as a screening assay for anti-inflammatory properties of compounds. Determinations of neopterin production by ELISA and of tryptophan degradation by HPLC are used as read-outs. Results are compared with further markers of immune response and oxidative stress.
Results: Phytohaemagglutinin induced significant tryptophan degradation and neopterin formation in PBMC, which correlated with IFN-γ, TNF-α, soluble cytokine receptors and isoprostane-8. Addition of vitamin C and E suppressed the responses dose-dependently.
Discussion: The determination of tryptophan degradation and neopterin production in PBMC reflects various pro- and anti-inflammatory cascades that are of relevance also in patients. It constitutes a robust and reliable approach to screen anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs and may improve throughput, speed and cost-effectiveness in drug discovery.