Iloprost modulates the immune response in systemic sclerosis

BMC Immunol. 2010 Dec 15:11:62. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-11-62.


Background: Iloprost has been suggested to possess anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating actions and it is widely use as a vasodilatator in systemic sclerosis (SSc). In this study we evaluate the effect of iloprost on immune response in SSc patients. To this extend we enrolled 15 women affected by SSc and infused iloprost for 5 days. The effect of iloprost on T cells and monocytes was measured by flow cytometry, Real time PCR and measuring cytokines production in vivo and in vitro by ELISA.

Results: Our results demonstrate that Iloprost reduces T cell and TNF alpha production both in vivo and in vitro. It reduces T regulatory cells number, but increases their activity after immune stimulation. It increases serum IL-2 and this increase persists 28 days after the last infusion, also RANKL was increased both in vivo and in vitro. We observed no effect on IFN gamma production.

Conclusions: These results suggest that iloprost has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects, reducing TNF alpha production by T cells and the number of T regulatory cells and increasing IL-2 and RANKL.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iloprost / immunology
  • Iloprost / pharmacology
  • Iloprost / therapeutic use*
  • Immunologic Factors / immunology
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytohemagglutinins / pharmacology
  • RANK Ligand / biosynthesis
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • RANK Ligand
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Iloprost