Tetrandrine, a plant alkaloid, inhibits the production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (cachectin) hy human monocytes

Clin Exp Immunol. 1990 May;80(2):232-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1990.tb05239.x.


Human mononuclear leucocytes (MNL) or the adherent fraction (monocytes) produced tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) (by ELISA) in culture when stimulated with killed Staphylococcus aureus. The bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid, tetrandrine inhibited the capacity of MNL and monocytes to produce TNF-alpha at a concentration range of 0.1 to 5 micrograms/ml. Tetrandrine may be potentially useful in the treatment of inflammatory diseases in which TNF-alpha plays a major role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Benzylisoquinolines*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Alkaloids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Benzylisoquinolines
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • tetrandrine