Selective regulation of cytokine secretion by hydroxychloroquine: inhibition of interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1-alpha) and IL-6 in human monocytes and T cells

J Rheumatol. 1993 May;20(5):803-8.


To study the effect of hydroxychloroquine on cytokine production by monocytes and T cells, cells were pretreated with varying concentrations of hydroxychloroquine and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (monocytes), phytohemagglutinin or anti-CD-3 monoclonal antibodies (T cells). Interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1-alpha), IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) production were measured from the stimulated monocytes and IL-2, IL-4 and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) were measured from the stimulated T cells. Hydroxychloroquine inhibited production of IL-1-alpha (monocytes) and IL-6 (T cells and monocytes). In contrast IL-2, IL-4, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma production were not affected. Preferential inhibition of IL-1-alpha production by monocytes and IL-6 production by T cells and monocytes may contribute to its antiinflammatory effect in autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-6 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Hydroxychloroquine