Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Lack of in vitro effect of aglepristone on IFN-γ and IL-4 production by resting and mitogen-activated T cells of luteal bitches

Piotr Jurka1*, Lidia Szulc-Dąbrowska2, Joanna Borkowska1 and Anna Winnicka3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Small Animal Diseases with Clinic, Laboratory of Small Animal Reproduction, Warsaw, Poland

2 Department of Preclinical Sciences, Division of Immunology, Warsaw, Poland

3 Department of Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostics, Division of Animal Pathophysiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Nowoursynowska 159c, 02-767 Warsaw, Poland

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:220  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-220

Published: 26 October 2013



Aglepristone (RU534) is an antiprogestin used for pregnancy termination, parturition induction and conservative pyometra treatment in bitches. Its molecular structure is similar to mifepristone, an antiprogestin used in human medicine. Mifepristone has been shown to suppress proliferation and cytokine production by T cells, whereas the effect of aglepristone on T cell function remains elusive. The purpose of this project was to investigate the in vitro influence of RU534 on IFN-γ and IL-4 synthesis by peripheral blood T cells isolated from healthy bitches (N = 16) in luteal phase. The peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were incubated with three different dosages of aglepristone, or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), with or without mitogen. The production of cytokines by resting or mitogen-activated T cells was determined by intercellular staining and flow cytometry analysis or ELISA assay, respectively.


Our results showed no statistically significant differences in the percentage of IFN-γ and IL-4-synthesizing CD4+ or CD8+ resting T cells between untreated and aglepristone-treated cells at 24 and 48 hours post treatment. Moreover, mitogen-activated PBMCs treated with RU534 displayed similar concentration of IFN-γ and IL-4 in culture supernatants to those observed in mitogen-activated DMSO-treated PBMCs. Presented results indicate that administration of aglepristone for 48 hours has no influence on IFN-γ and IL-4 synthesis by resting and mitogen-activated T cells isolated from diestral bitches.


We conclude that antiprogestins may differentially affect T cell function depending on the animal species in which they are applied.

Aglepristone; Mifepristone; Bitch; T cells; Cytokines