Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1195–1203 | Cite as

Artesunate inhibits proliferation of naïve CD4+ T cells but enhances function of effector T cells

  • Sung Ho Lee
  • Young-Chang Cho
  • Kyung Hee Kim
  • Ik-Soo Lee
  • Hyun Jin Choi
  • Bok Yun KangEmail author
Research Article


Artesunate is an artemisinin derivative from Artemisia annua and is being applied as a first-line drug for malaria treatment. In addition to anti-malarial effects, anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory activities have been reported for artemisinin derivatives. In this study, we investigated the effects of artesunate on naïve T cell activation and Th1/Th2 differentiation. Artesunate inhibited the proliferation of CD4+ T cells and the production of IL-2, T cell growth factor. Moreover, artesunate reduced the expression of cell surface protein CD25 (IL-2 receptor alpha chain) and CD69 on CD4+ T cells. Artesunate showed inhibitory effects on naïve T cell activation but artesunate increased the production of IFN-γ and IL-4 under Th1 and Th2 skewed condition respectively. Therefore, these results suggest that artesunate has a negative mitogenic effect on CD4+ T cells but reinforces the function of effector T cells.


Artesunate CD4+ T cell Proliferation Differentiation Cytokine 



This study was financially supported by Chonnam National University, 2011.

Supplementary material

12272_2014_491_MOESM1_ESM.docx (58 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 59 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung Ho Lee
    • 1
  • Young-Chang Cho
    • 2
  • Kyung Hee Kim
    • 3
  • Ik-Soo Lee
    • 1
  • Hyun Jin Choi
    • 4
  • Bok Yun Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Pharmacy & Research Institute of Drug DevelopmentChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.College of PharmacyChung-Ang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Food & NutritionMokpo National UniversityMokpoRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.College of PharmacyCHA UniversitySeongnamRepublic of Korea

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