Substances used for local and general anaesthesia in major surgery suppress proliferative responsiveness of normal rat peripheral blood mononuclear cells in culture

M. Chanimov, S. Berman, J. Weissgarten, Z. Averbukh, M. Cohen, Y. Grinshpun, M. Bahar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the direct effect of intravenous anaesthetics, local anaesthetics and premedication drugs in common use for major surgery, on the spontaneous versus lectin induced proliferation of cultured normal rat peripheral blood mononuclear cells, not exposed to surgical or any other trauma prior to culture. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were incubated in cell-culture medium in the presence or in the absence of propofol, ketamine, fentanyl, midazolam, thiopental sodium, lidocaine or etomidate. The cells proliferated either spontaneously or under stimulation with a lectin phytohaemagglutinine P for 72 h. The proliferation rate was evaluated by 2H-Thymidine incorporation. Fentanyl, thiopental sodium, lidocaine and etomidate significantly inhibited phytohaemagglutinine P induced 3H-Thymidine incorporation in cultured rat peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Counts per minute of the cultures treated with these drugs were 1667.80 ± 745.72, 1614.1 ± 615.00, 1688.0 ± 615.0 and 1549 ± 560.41, respectively, compared with the phytohaemagglutine P stimulated positive control counts per minute, 13488 ± 4305.6 (P < 0.001 in each comparison). Propofol, ketamine and midazolam inhibited the lectin-induced cell proliferation to levels not statistically different from the baseline. Counts per minute of these cultures were 1361.90 ± 745.73; 1108.90 ± 751.33 and 1518.10 ± 848.88, respectively. Compared either with the baseline 972.57 ± 356.73 counts per minute or to the positive control culture counts per minute, 13488 ± 4305.6 the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.001) in each comparison. All the substances tested in this study proved capable of exerting direct inhibitory effect on circulating immunocompetent cells, because the latter were not subjected to any other immunosuppresive factor, be it operative trauma, blood transfusion, malnutrition, drug abuse, prior to culture. The possible theoretical and practical implications are discussed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Anaesthesiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Allergy and immunology
  • Anaesthetics intravenous, fentanyl, etomidate, thiopental, midazolam, ketamine
  • Anaesthetics local
  • Leukocytes mononuclear, lymphocytes, monocytes
  • Lidocaine
  • Tissue culture, cell culture


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