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

Document Type : Research Article


1 . Department of Immunology, Isfahan Medical School, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 . Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 . Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 4. Iranian Scientific Society of Osteoma Care, Tehran, Iran

5 5. Department of Thoracic Surgery, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

6 6. Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran


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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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.