Depression of murine natural killer cell cytotoxicity by isobutyl nitrite

Eva Lotzová, Cherylyn A. Savary, Evan M. Hersh, Abbas A. Khan, Michael Rosenblum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We have investigated the effect of isobutyl nitrite on murine NK-cell antitumor-directed cytotoxicity. This agent has been suggested as one of the factors underlying immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in man. We demonstrated that two injections, each of 0.25 ml isobutyl nitrite, resulted in significant depression of endogenous splenic and peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity against T-cell lymphoma, YAC-1. In addition to endogenous NK cells, activity of pyrimidinol-activated NK cells was also substantially depressed by this agent. The latter observation is of the utmost importance, since it suggests that the attempt to augment NK-cell activity (to promote resistance to infections and malignancies) could fail in patients with AIDS who are isobutyl nitrite users. Isobutyl nitrite was NK-cell-suppressive not only after in vivo administration but, most importantly, also after inhalation. This indicates that isobutyl nitrite, via its NK-cell suppressive effect, could contribute to immunodeficiency in AIDS. Studies on the mechanism of NK-cell depression by isobutyl nitrite demonstrated that the NK-cell tumor-binding properties as well as NK-cell cytotoxic potential were substantially depressed. Mixing experiments failed to reveal any regulation by suppressor cell activities. The results of these studies clearly indicate that isobutyl nitrite is an immunosuppressive agent and that its use should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Immunology Immunotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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