Autacoids as modulators of the inflammatory and immune response

Am J Med. 1981 Jul;71(1):100-6. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(81)90264-3.


Once considered only mediators of inflammation, autacoids, (histamine, prostaglandins and beta-mimetic catecholamines) have been found to be generated during specific early and late phases of immunity. They need sufficient concentrations to affect immunocytes and can modulate immunity usually by inhibiting it. Receptors for the autacoids on the immunocytes are nonrandomly distributed. A small portion of T suppressor cells always appear to have receptors on them, but precursor B cells and precursors of T cells that produce lymphokines or are responsible for cytolysis do not. Instead, as these cells mature they develop their autacoid receptors. With one exception, the function of the immunocytes is inhibited by the effects of autacoids. Again, in all but one instance, that inhibitory modulating effect is mediated by and directly proportional to the intracellular concentrations of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP) generated by the autacoid. The clinical implications of these observations are beginning to be appreciated. One of them is that pharmacologic antagonists of the autacoids can have predictable but hitherto unanticipated effects on immune functions. It is inconceivable that these effects will not have clinical value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autacoids / immunology*
  • Cyclic AMP / immunology
  • Histamine Release
  • Humans
  • Immunity*
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Histamine / immunology
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology


  • Autacoids
  • Receptors, Histamine
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin
  • Cyclic AMP