Immunosuppressive actions of gold salts

Scand J Rheumatol Suppl. 1983:51:28-35. doi: 10.3109/03009748309095340.


In rheumatoid arthritis both lymphocyte-mediated and antibody-mediated immune reactions are important for the inflammatory lesions. In vivo activated B lymphocytes/plasma cells, T lymphocytes and monocytes/macrophages (Mo) are intimately involved in the disease process. Several clinical observations suggest an immunosuppressive action of gold salts. In humans, gold salts interfere with a number of Mo functions in vitro, including cellular interactions between Mo and T lymphocytes. Some workers have shown that the activation of human T lymphocytes is inhibited by gold salts, most probably secondary to an inhibition of Mo-T cell cooperation. Recent experiments indicate that gold salts also affect the in vitro differentiation of human B lymphocytes in response to polyclonal activators. Both the gold atom and the SH group seem to be important for the immunosuppressive actions of gold salts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / immunology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Aurothioglucose / immunology*
  • Aurothioglucose / therapeutic use
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Gold / immunology*
  • Gold Sodium Thiomalate / immunology*
  • Gold Sodium Thiomalate / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Leukocyte Migration-Inhibitory Factors / immunology
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Penicillamine / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Leukocyte Migration-Inhibitory Factors
  • Gold Sodium Thiomalate
  • Aurothioglucose
  • Gold
  • Penicillamine