Antibodies against cortisol block suppressive effects of corticosteroids on lymphocytes in vitro

T. G. Rozell, Brian G Murphy, D. M. De Avila, K. L. Banks, J. J. Reeves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Lymphocyte transformation assays were used to test the ability of antibodies against cortisol to reduce bioactivity of corticosteroids in vitro. Mononuclear cells were separated from whole bovine blood and cultured in the presence of PHA alone, PHA + steroid, PHA + steroid + anticortisol, or PHA + steroid + anti-bovine serum albumin. Tritiated thymidine uptake was determined for all groups during the last 24 hr of a 72-hr culture period by scintillation counting. Polyclonal anticortisol against cortisol-bovine serum albumin conjugated in the 21 position was more effective in blocking cortisol activity than monoclonal anticortisol built against conjugates in the 3 position. The steroids that suppressed PHA-induced lymphocyte proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner were: cortisol, corticosterone, dexamethasone, prednisolone, 11-deoxycortisol, and 11-deoxycorticosterone. Aldosterone, cortisone, cholesterol, estradiol, and progesterone did not exhibit concentration-dependent effects and, thus, were not considered suppressive. These concentration-independent steroids were also the least suppressive (with the exception of aldosterone). Anticortisol was able to reduce bioactivity of suppressive corticosteroids that had an 11-hydroxy group, suggesting the antibody was primarily made against this site. Anti-BSA was not effective in blocking corticosteroid activity, but it did enhance proliferation of lymphocytes if added in combination with weakly suppressive steroids. Anticortisol also had an enhancing effect when added with some weakly suppressive steroids. We conclude that antibodies against cortisol are capable of reducing bioactivity of steroids that strongly suppress lymphocyte proliferation. Additionally, the 11-hydroxy group may be an important antigenic determinant of steroid molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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