Diethyldithiocarbamate, a novel immunomodulator, prolongs survival in autoimmune MRL- lpr lpr mice

Melissa D. Halpern, Evan Hersh, David E. Yocum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


MRL- lpr lpr mice die at an early age from a spontaneously developing systemic lupus erythematosus-like disease and are characterized by massive lymphadenopathy, hyperproliferation of Lyt-2 L3T4 (null) T cells, decreased responses to mitogens, thymic atrophy, and very high serum autoantibody levels. Diethyldithiocarbamate (DTC), an immunomodulator suggested to enhance T cells, was used to treat 12-week-old female MRL- lpr lpr mice (25 mg/kg/week). DTC treatment significantly prolonged survival (50% mortality, 43 weeks vs 20 weeks). Increased survival was associated with decreased lymphadenopathy, decreased proliferation of null cells, restoration of impaired mitogen responses, decreased thymic atrophy, and decreased serum levels of anti-DNA and anti-histone antibodies. Studies of cell surface antigen phenotype demonstrated increased expression of Lyt-2 and macrophage surface antigens. No effect on L3T4 single staining cells was observed. These results show that DTC significantly alters the disease course in these mice and suggest that DTC may be a useful treatment for autoimmune disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-254
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Immunology


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