Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) is a new immunosuppressive agent currently used in organ transplantation and under evaluation in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Although MMF was shown to inhibit purine nucleotide synthesis in lymphocytes, it is still unclear whether it might also exert direct antiinflammatory actions in vivo. To address this question, we evaluated the effects of MMF administration on the responses of mice to a single challenge with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We observed that MMF treatment inhibits the release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and nitric oxide (NO) upon LPS injection whereas it promotes IL-10 production. In parallel, MMF was found to protect mice from LPS-induced lethality. Inhibition of TNF-alpha release was also observed in IL-10-deficient mice indicating that it does not exclusively depend on the upregulation of IL-10 endogenous synthesis. In view of the differential effects of MMF on the LPS-induced production of TNF-alpha and NO on one hand and that of IL-10 on the other hand, we conclude that beside its immunosuppressive action at the lymphocyte level, MMF is also endowed with antiinflammatory properties.