Immunomodulatory effects of thalidomide analogs on LPS-induced plasma and hepatic cytokines in the rat

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Thalidomide has shown to inhibit, selectively and mainly the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), thus, thalidomide has inhibitory consequences on other cytokines; this is ascribed as an immunomodulatory effect. Novel thalidomide analogs are reported with immunomodulatory activity. The aim of this work was to synthesize some of these analogs and to assess them as immunomodulatory agents in an acute model of LPS-induced septic challenge in rat. Animal groups received orally twice a day vehicle carboxymethylcellulose (0.9%), or thalidomide in suspension (100 mg/kg), or analogs in an equimolar dose. Two hours after last dose, rats were injected with saline (NaCl, 0.9%, i.p.) or LPS (5 mg/kg, i.p.). Groups were sacrificed 2 h after injection and samples of blood and liver were obtained. TNF-α, interleukin-6, -1β, and -10 (IL-6, IL-1β, IL-10) were quantified by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and studied in plasma and liver. After 2 h of LPS-induction, different patterns of measured cytokines were observed with thalidomide analogs administration evidencing their immunomodulatory effects. Interestingly, some analogs decreased significantly plasma and hepatic levels of LPS-induced proinflammatory TNF-α and others increased plasma concentration of anti-inflammatory IL-10. Thalidomide analogs also showed slight effects on the remaining proinflammatory cytokines. Differences among immunomodulatory effects of analogs can be related to potency, mechanism of action, and half lives. Thalidomide analogs could be used as a pharmacological tool and in therapeutics in the future.

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