Imatinib inhibits the functional capacity of cultured human monocytes.

Research paper by Andrea L AL Dewar, Kathleen V KV Doherty, Timothy P TP Hughes, A Bruce AB Lyons

Indexed on: 22 Jan '05Published on: 22 Jan '05Published in: Immunology & Cell Biology


Imatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has been reported to specifically inhibit the growth of bcr-abl expressing chronic myeloid leukaemia progenitors. This drug functions by blocking the ATP-binding site of the kinase domain of bcr-abl, and has also been found to inhibit the c-abl, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, ARG and stem cell factor receptor tyrosine kinases. Reports have recently emerged demonstrating that imatinib also inhibits the growth of non-malignant haemopoietic cells. Here, we demonstrate that concentrations of imatinib within the therapeutic dose range inhibit the function of cultured monocytes (CM) from normal donors. A decrease in the response of CM to LPS was observed morphologically and functionally, with CM grown in the presence of imatinib showing decreased pseudopodia formation and inhibition of IL-6 and TNF-alpha production following LPS stimulation. Imatinib also reduced the ability of M-CSF and GM-CSF stimulated CM to phagocytose zymosan particles, with uptake of non-opsonized zymosan by M-CSF stimulated CM (M-CM) being most affected. M-CM that had been cultured in the presence of imatinib were also impaired in their ability to stimulate responder cells in a mixed lymphocyte reaction. These results demonstrate that human monocytes cultured in the presence of imatinib are functionally impaired, and suggest that imatinib displays inhibitory activity against other kinase(s) that play a role in monocyte/macrophage development.