Effect of pyrimethamine, an antimalarial antifolate, and of mefloquine, chloroquine, and quinine, which belong to the quinoline group of antimalarials, on proliferation and interleukin 2 (IL-2) production of human lymphocytes was studied in vitro. Pyrimethamine at concentrations above therapeutic levels suppressed the lymphocytes' proliferation, but not their IL-2 production. All three quinolines suppressed the proliferation of lymphocytes, but not equally, with mefloquine having the strongest effect. Quinine suppressed the growth at therapeutic concentrations. The IL-2 production was suppressed at concentrations twice as high as those required to suppress lymphocyte proliferation. Addition of exogenous IL-2 only partially reversed the suppressive effect on lymphocyte proliferation. Delayed addition of the quinolines decreased their suppressive effect, but not completely. The mechanisms of action on human mononuclear cells of the various antimalarial drugs and the potential adverse effects of antimalarial chemotherapy are discussed.
International Immunopharmacology, 1987, Vol 9, Issue 4, p. 513-9