The Effects of Isoproterenol and Propranolol on Cytokine Profile Secretion by Cultured Tumor-infiltrating Lymphocytes Derived from Colorectal Cancer Patients

(Pages: 281-289)
Shahram Seyedi, M.D.Ph.D., 1Alireza Andalib, Ph.D., 1,*Abbas Rezaei, Ph.D., 1Seyed Mohsen Hosseini, Ph.D., 2Seyed Reza Mohebbi, Ph.D., 3Mohammad Reza Zali, M.D., 3Mohamad Vafai, M.D., 4Roubik Behboo, M.D.FEBS, 4Seyed Abbas Tabatabaei, Ph.D., 5Shahram Shahabi, M.D.Ph.D., 6
* Corresponding Address: Department of Immunology Isfahan Medical School Isfahan University of Medical Sciences Isfahan Iran Email:
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Seyedi Shahram, Andalib Alireza, Rezaei Abbas, Hosseini Seyed Mohsen, Mohebbi Seyed Reza, Zali Mohammad Reza, Vafai Mohamad, Behboo Roubik, Tabatabaei Seyed Abbas, Shahabi Shahram. The Effects of Isoproterenol and Propranolol on Cytokine Profile Secretion by Cultured Tumor-infiltrating Lymphocytes Derived from Colorectal Cancer Patients. Cell J. 2012; 13(4): 281-289.



Anti-tumor immunity and cytokine profiles have important roles in the development of cancer. Norepinephrine (NE) release due to sympathetic activation leads to a Th2 deviation via the beta-2 adrenergic receptor Beta-2 adrenergic receptor (β-2AR) and could increase cancer progression. This study intends to determine the effects of isoproterenol (ISO; beta-agonist) and propranolol (PRO; beta-antagonist) on the production of IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-17. Cytokine levels have been examined in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The β-2AR expression on lymphocyte subsets was also assessed.

Materials and Methods:

In this experimental study, TILs were isolated from fresh CRC tissue and patient PBMCs were obtained just prior to surgery. The cells were cultured in medium for 72 hours. Concomitantly, cells were stimulated with 10 µg/ml phytohemagglutinin (PHA) alone or in the presence of either 1 µmol/L of PRO or 1 µmol/L ISO. The concentration of cytokines in the supernatants was measured by ELISA. Three-color flow cytometry was used to determine the expression of β-2AR on the lymphocyte subsets. Statistical analyses were performed via paired or independent t-test.


Levels of IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-17 were elevated after PHA-stimulation of PBMCs and TILs. However, the elevation of IFN-γ and IL-17 production by TILs in response to PHA was significantly lower than PBMCs. In the presence of ISO, the IFN-γ/IL-4 ratio reduced in all groups, but this reduction was very low in TILs. Interestingly, the effects of PRO on cytokine production were, at least partially, comparable to those of ISO. Depressed levels of β-2AR expression were demonstrated on CD4+IFN-γ+ and CD4+IL-17+ lymphocytes in patients' PBMCs and TILs.


This study has demonstrated the effects of ISO and PRO on cytokine production by TILs and determined β-2AR expression on these cells. ISO failed to induce a shift toward the expected Th2 cytokine profile in CRC patients' TILs, which might be due to the downregulation of β-2AR expression on TILs. Additionally, in this study, PRO induced a shift to a Th2 profile in PBMCs.