Propranolol Suppresses the T-Helper Cell Depletion-Related Immune Dysfunction in Cirrhotic Mice

Hung Cheng Tsai, Chien Fu Hsu, Chia Chang Huang, Shiang Fen Huang, Tzu Hao Li, Ying Ying Yang, Ming Wei Lin, Tzung Yan Lee, Chih Wei Liu, Yi Hsiang Huang, Ming Chih Hou, Han Chieh Lin

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11 Scopus citations


Bacterial translocation (BT) and splenomegaly contribute to cirrhosis-associated immune dysfunction (CAID) including T cell depletion, infection, and chronic inflammation. β-blockers have been reported to decrease BT and improve splenomegaly. This study explores the modulation of β1 and β2 adrenergic receptors (ADRB1/ADRB2) by propranolol treatment on the peripheral and splenic immune dysfunction of cirrhotic mice. In vivo experiments were performed in bile duct ligation (BDL)- and thioacetamide (TAA)-cirrhotic mice receiving two weeks of propranolol treatment. Acute effects of propranolol were evaluated in T-helper (Th) cells isolated from spleen of cirrhotic mice. Over-expression of β1 and β2 adrenergic receptors (ADRB1/ADRB2) in spleen and T lymphocytes was associated with high peripheral/splenic lipopolysaccharide binding protein levels. Moreover, a decrease in Th cells percentage, increase in Treg subset, and cytokines were accompanied by increased apoptosis, proliferation, and reduced white pulp hyperplasia in cirrhotic mice, which were counteracted by propranolol treatment. The Th-cell depletion, systemic inflammation, BT, and infection were improved by chronic propranolol treatment. Acute propranolol treatment inhibited apoptosis, Treg-conditioned differentiation, and promoted Th2-conditioned differentiation through ADRB-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) signals in cirrhotic mice. In conclusion, suppression of ADRB1 and ADRB2 expressions in spleen and splenic T lymphocytes by acute and chronic propranolol treatment ameliorate systemic and splenic immune dysfunction in cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2020


  • cirrhosis-associated immune dysfunction
  • splenic β adrenergic receptor
  • Th-cell depletion


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