In-vitro and in-vivo studies on the induction of neopterin biosynthesis by cytokines, alloantigens and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)

Clin Exp Immunol. 1988 Dec;74(3):392-7.


Recently we presented evidence that cellular immune responses are associated with increased in-vitro and in-vivo excretion of neopterin (Huber et al., 1983) and that, in vitro at least, macrophages and IFN-gamma play a key role in the induction of this phenomenon (Huber et al., 1984). Although this marker is increasingly applied for monitoring of human disease, there is limited knowledge about the mechanism(s) responsible for its increased biosynthesis during inflammatory states. To further elucidate this question we evaluated neopterin and IFN-levels in culture supernatants of human blood cells and in patients' sera. Cells or patients were exposed to a panel of recombinant cytokines, alloantigens or lipopolysaccharide. To investigate indirect stimulation by induction of production of endogenous IFNs, the impact of neutralization of IFNs by addition of specific antibodies was also studied. The data confirm our previous results which identified the monocyte/macrophage as the main producer cell among human blood cells. They further demonstrate that, at least in vitro, IFN-gamma, IFN-alpha and LPS can all stimulate neopterin release independently from each other. Thirdly, they indicate that stimuli such as alloantigens or TNF-alpha can indirectly enhance neopterin release by their capacity to induce production of endogenous IFN-gamma. On the basis of these data we conclude that enhanced neopterin biosynthesis does not necessarily relate to activation of T cells but can also be caused by non-immune stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Biopterin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Biopterin / biosynthesis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Isoantigens / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Neopterin
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • Interferon Type I
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Isoantigens
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Biopterin
  • Neopterin
  • Interferon-gamma