Apoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death

Quinidine and procainamide inhibit murine macrophage uptake of apoptotic and necrotic cells: a novel contributing mechanism of drug-induced-lupus.

PMID 16151636


A number of mechanisms have been proposed to explain the etiology of drug-induced lupus (DIL) but the effect of apoptotic and necrotic cell handling has not been previously examined. To evaluate the effect of quinidine and procainamide at therapeutic range concentrations, on the uptake of apoptotic and necrotic thymocytes by murine peritoneal macrophages and on macrophage survival, as a novel mechanism for DIL. Thymocytes were stained and induced to undergo apoptosis by serum withdrawal. Apoptosis was evaluated using annexin V and propidum iodide (PI) and PI staining. Necrosis was induced by heating. Peritoneal macrophages were treated with quinidine or procainamide at a range of therapeutic concentrations and incubated with stained apoptotic and necrotic thymocytes. Apoptotic and necrotic cell uptake was evaluated by flow cytometry using double staining of thymocytes and macrophages and by confocal microscopy. Green fluorescent latex beads were used as controls for phagocytosis. Significantly decreased uptake of apoptotic and necrotic cells was seen in the presence of quinidine and procainamide. The documented effect was mainly on the number of apoptotic/necrotic cells per macrophage. Uptake of fluorescent latex beads offered to resident macrophages was not significantly affected by quinidine or procainamide. No pro-apoptotic effect of quinidine or procainamide on macrophages was seen. Quinidine and procainamide at therapeutic range concentrations specifically inhibit clearance of apoptotic and necrotic cells by peritoneal macrophages. Altered handling of apoptotic and necrotic cells may represent a contributing mechanism for DIL.