Drugs & Aging

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 87–94 | Cite as

Modulation of Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Proliferative Response by Diltiazem

In Vitro Comparison in Younger versus Older Subjects
  • Antonella D’Ambrosio
  • Luciana Giordani
  • Manuela Colucci
  • Nicola Vanacore
  • Francesca Quintieri
Original Research Article



The gradual aging of population has increased the number of elderly patients receiving kidney transplants. In elderly transplant recipients, careful immunosuppression has to be maintained to avoid both rejection and adverse effects. Clinical protocols after kidney transplantation include use of the calcium channel antagonist diltiazem to ameliorate the hypertensive effect and nephrotoxicity of the immunosuppressant agent ciclosporin (cyclosporine).


Since immune response can be impaired by senescence, we evaluated the influence of diltiazem on lymphocyte proliferation both alone and in the presence of ciclosporin in younger versus older subjects.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from younger healthy donors (aged 19–24 years) and older subjects (aged 59–65 years) were isolated and stimulated with mitogens, recombinant human interleukin-2 (IL-2), purified protein derivative (PPD) antigen from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (αCD3 moAb) in the presence or absence of 10−4, 10−5, 10−6, 10−7 mol/L concentrations of diltiazem. In some experiments, lymphocytes from younger and older subjects were used as responder cells in an allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) in the presence of different concentrations of diltiazem and 10 ng/mL of ciclosporin.


We found that PBMC from older subjects were more susceptible to immunosuppression induced by low concentrations of diltiazem when mitogens were used to stimulate cells. In particular, when pokeweed mitogen was used, diltiazem 10−7 mol/L was associated with statistically significant immunosuppression in older subjects compared with younger subjects. This effect was not observed when IL-2, PPD antigen and αCD3 moAb were used as stimulators. Moreover, in the allogeneic MLR, we found no differences between younger and older subjects when the 10−5, 10−6 and 10−7 mol/L concentrations of diltiazem were used alone or in the presence of ciclosporin. Only addition of the suprather-apeutic 10−4 mol/L concentration of diltiazem to ciclosporin was associated with statistically significant immunosuppression in older versus younger subjects.


Our results show that PBMC from older subjects are no more susceptible than PBMC from younger subjects to therapeutic doses of diltiazem when T-cell receptors are directly or indirectly involved. On the contrary, when PBMC activation was not mediated by T-cell receptor involvement, as in the case of pokeweed mitogen, susceptibility to a therapeutic concentration of diltiazem in older subjects was enhanced. Moreover, co-administration of therapeutic doses of diltiazem and ciclosporin in an MLR showed no significant differences between younger and older subjects in an in vitro model of lymphocyte response to allogeneic transplantation.


Since we found no variations in immunosuppression between older and younger subjects when therapeutic doses of diltiazem were added to ciclosporin, our data do not discourage the use of diltiazem in older kidney transplant recipients receiving ciclosporin therapy.


Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Diltiazem Young Subject Proliferative Response Purify Protein Derivative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by a grant from Ministero della Sanità — Ricerca Finalizzata — Progetto donazioni e trapianti: epidemiologia e risultati clinici. Fasc. n. 3AM/F3. The authors thank the staff of the Department of Transfusional Medicine — University “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy, for recruitment of subjects included in this study. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this study.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonella D’Ambrosio
    • 1
  • Luciana Giordani
    • 2
  • Manuela Colucci
    • 1
  • Nicola Vanacore
    • 3
  • Francesca Quintieri
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immuno-Mediated DiseasesIstituto Superiore di SanitàRome, 299Italy
  2. 2.Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines EvaluationIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  3. 3.National Centre of EpidemiologyIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly

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