A single subcutaneous injection of 0.2 mg epinephrine into healthy human subjects caused a transient lymphocytosis in peripheral blood. Mononuclear cells (MNC), isolated at various times after epinephrine administration, were cultured in the presence of mitogens. The blastogenic responses to pokeweed mitogen (PWM) and phytohemagglutinin (PHA) were significantly reduced for up to 60 min post-epinephrine (p less than 0.05); the response to concanavalin A (Con A) was reduced in the 15-min samples only. All responses returned to pre-injection levels by 120 min post-injection. Removal of adherent monocytes from MNC isolates before culture did not restore normal mitogen responsiveness. When MNC were cultured in the absence of mitogens, there was no difference in survival between pre- and post-epinephrine samples. Incubation of untreated MNC for 2 hr or 18 hr in vitro with various concentrations of epinephrine (10(-5) to 10(-1) mg/ml) had no effect upon the subsequent blastogenic response to mitogens. Other workers have reported that epinephrine administration causes alterations in the composition of the circulating lymphocyte pool. Taken together, these data suggest that the reduction in mitogen responsiveness after epinephrine is the result of changes in the distribution of lymphocyte subclasses in peripheral blood.

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